A campaign tackling elephant poaching has launched a countrywide petition that it hopes will help combat an alarming rate of poaching in Myanmar.

With at least one elephant hunted every week, six international wildlife agencies have created the six-month “Voice for MoMos” campaign highlighting the devastating effects of the illegal trade.

Nullifying the sale of elephant products is “imperative,” according to WWF-Myanmar conservation director Nick Cox, as experts say elephants face extinction if poaching continues at its current rate.

Conglomerate Shwe Taung Group was the first corporate signatory to the petition, which includes an open letter to State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi pledging support from the Myanmar people to end the illegal trade as part of the implementation of the Myanmar Elephant Conservation Action Plan.

“We aim to do our part and help raise awareness of the elephant crisis for future generations,” said Daw Sandar Htun, chief executive officer of Shwe Taung Real Estate.

The group—which developed Yangon projects such as Junction City, Junction Square and Union Financial Centre—has been a member of the United Nations Global Compact since 2013.

Elephant skin, tail hairs, teeth and ivory are sold at Golden Rock (Kyaiktiyo Pagoda), ivory is sold in Yangon and Mandalay.

There are also large markets along the border regions of China, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand—an area known as the ‘Golden Triangle.’

Elephant skin is sold dried for traditional ‘medicine’ or polished into beads and sold as lucky charm bracelets. The tail hairs are put into silver rings and worn for luck.

Nick Cox, Conservation Director, WWF-Myanmar said, “It is imperative that Myanmar ends the illegal and open trade in products from elephants and other wildlife.

“China’s closing of its domestic ivory market is a great step forward but if we don’t end the sales nationally the trade will simply come across the border.

“We must make it clear to all tourists that Myanmar is not an illegal wildlife trade destination and end these sales once and for all.”

Beginning today (January 16), Myanmar artist Arker Kyaw’s We Love Elephants public art exhibition will be at Junction City, after three weeks of being on display at the Junction Square grounds.

The elephants will be open to public viewing at the ground floor foyer of the mall until the end of January and will run alongside screening of Voice for MoMos public service announcements and elephant facts on a number of digital screens inside and outside the mall premises.

The petition, which aims to attract 100,000 signatures, can be signed at Junction City’s Voice for MoMos kiosks or online via www.voicesformomos.org/petition.

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