OF OOZIES AND ELEPHANTS
1 x 60 HD
Asian elephants are the stars of our film and tragically, they are on the road to extinction. Burmese timber elephants are semi-captive and Myanmar (Burma) is the last country in the world to have working elephants logging their forests. Each timber elephant has its own 'oozie' - meaning 'head-rider' - a relationship that can last a lifetime. The elephant becomes one of the family, yet they are semi-captive - let out at night and fetched by the oozie in the morning for work. They take out one tree at a time without damaging saplings: selective logging. Nonetheless, both in the wild and in captivity, elephant numbers are declining - as they have in the rest of Asia already. They could all be gone in a hundred years. In this absorbing film, international scientists travel through Myanmar to investigate whether working in this way may yet save this critically endangered species from extinction. To find out what is happening, a team of international scientists led by Dr Khyne U Mar visits Myanmar, with its astonishing temples and forests. She discovers in Yangon (Rangoon) a cache of ancient records, started by the British, which show that a third of young elephants do not survive beyond the age of 5. In the forest rest camps the scientists weigh, measure and check the health of the elephants, old and young, and test for diseases such as TB. Travelling north by train and boat to the logging camps in the mountains, the team assess the stress put on the elephants by various factors, including the logging itself. Surrounded by baby and teenager elephants, they reach the unexpected conclusion that, unlike Thailand where logging was banned and the elephant population collapsed, logging with elephants should continue in Myanmar.