Elephant Extraction

Elephant Extraction

The following documents and maps related to each compartment are provided by the Forest Department (FD) when granting official permission to carryout harvesting operations official.



Myanma Timber Enterprise (MTE)

Extraction Department

A Brief Note on Harvesting

(Elephant Extraction)


1.           Pre- harvesting stage


(a)        The following documents and maps related to each compartment are provided by the Forest Department (FD) when granting official permission to carryout harvesting operations official.

-         FD conducts pre-harvested inventory and marketing / girdling trees of prescribed limit for felling.

-         Compartment  map showing the location or position of marked / girdled trees, streams, ridges, villages and other outstanding features, such as steep slopes, water bodies, etc.

-         Marketing books and girdling books, including summary lists and future yield trees.


(b)        The following steps are undertaken by the Extraction Department (MTE):

-         Opening of individual compartment file and transfer data from marking book into summary note Book (Form-C)

-         Exploration or walking of each compartment, along the contour, to locate and assess trees for felling, skidding, supply dumping and road construction and camp sites, considering topographic aspects.

-         Locating skidding routes for elephant skidding

-         Designate Landing Points

-         Main Road alignment and appraisal of feeder road, point of stream crossing, number of bridges to be built and necessary camp sites.

-         Submitting the above mentioned facts in the prescribed form (Exploration Report -Form AC)


             2.           Felling and Bucking stage


(i)                Fellings are done during the wet season mostly, may continue till January.

(ii)             Fellers mostly use 2-men manual cross-cut saws and also chain saws, maintain them in a safe and operational condition.

(iii)           Fell each marked tree according to the standard felling technique and climber cutting and proper directional felling, very low stump by skilled fellers.

Teak trees with girth limit of 6' 6" (66cm) at GBH are girdled and dried by leaving it standing for 3  years, before felling, so that they are dry enough for floating and seasoning. Green Teak are also felled for immediate harvesting.

For Hardwoods girth with 5' 5" (55cm) at GBH are mostly commercial species are marked and felled.

(iv)           Bucking felled trees and hammer marketing according to cross-cutting rules, logging procedures, prescribed as in departmental instructions.


             3.           Elephant skidding stages

(i)                Open and construct skid trails or dragging routes for the elephants from the felling site or the stump to the landing points.

(ii)             Logs obtained from the felled trees are dragged (or) skidded by the elephants up to the landing point along the skid trails (Also called stumping)

(iii)           Distance of elephant skid trails mostly 1/2 mile (0.8km), not greater than 1 M (1.6km)

(iv)           Dragging by elephants mostly done in the wet and cold seasons from July to January.

(v)              Skidding or dragging or stumping, by the elephant is the most cheapest and most environmental favorable and very low impact to the soil and ecosystems.

There are 4 types of elephant camps:

(a)  Working elephant camp

(b)  Baggage elephant camp

(c)  Rest camp

(d)  Training camp


(a)         Working elephant camp

-  each camp consists of 6 elephants together with riders or Oozies, two helper and one headmen, supervised by Assistant Manager.

-  working elephants are classified into grades according to their dragging power.

1st class elephant            -           >2 hoppus tons (3.6m3 )

2nd  class elephant         -           1-2 hoppus tons (1.8m3  - 3..6m3 )

3rd  class elephant          -           < 1 hoppus tons ( <1.8m3  )

-  Working hours

-      in cool weather 8 hrs/day

-      in hot weather 5 hrs/days

-  Working days

-      5 days a week

-  Working seasons

From mid June to mid February with short break of 2-3 weeks at the Octcber

-  Average dragging or skidding distance

-      about haft mile (0.8km)

-  Working Capacity

-      100-180 hoppus tons (180.2 m3  - 324.4 m3 )year for teak.

-      180-240 hoppus tons (324.4 m3  - 432.6 m3 )year for other species.

-  Work load of elephant according to age

Age 18-24 - light dragging work

Age 25-46 - Full load

Age 47-54 - Working Capacity declines

Age 55-60 - Light work

-  Working Procedure for elephant camp

Collect          - every day early morning elephant is collected by its rider (oozie)              

                          where elephant was grazing

Bathe            -  elephant is well bathed in the nearest stream to the camp

     Harnessing   - elephant is harnessed correctly for dragging logs.

Working       - during working hours, for easier skidding, rollers are put under the

                    logs for easy dragging

(b)     Bathing of Elephant

(i)                Correct and scientific bathing can do so much to keep working elephants in good health.

(ii)             Bathing site is a pool about 2 feet deep with good volume of water flowing.

(iii)           Whole body should be splashed with water, for all mud and dirt to be washed off.

(iv)           Briskly massage every part of the animal with a fibrous piece of the stem of a creeper "doh-nwe" and "su-yit".

(v)              Special attention must be paid to the inside of the ears, the lips, the roots of the tusks, between the thights, root of the tail, where ticks and other parasites are most likely to be found.

(vi)           Doh-nwe ( Entada scandens )

A fibrous creeper, it is excellent for scrubbing the skin of elephants and gives a soapy lather when fresh.

(vii)         Su-yit ( Accacia pennata )

A poisonous creeper. The fiber is very good for scrubbing and the poisonous juice is fly repellant.

        4.      Landing Poiint

_        designated sites within each compartment for dumping logs, dragged by elephants  from the stump mostly at dry place or where the drainage is good.

_        End point of elephant skidding and starting point of trucking.

_        Joint measurement is done by both FD&MTE , before trucking , for payment and royalty.

_        Hammer marking on each and every log with Property Hammer, Compartment Hammer, Official Hammmer of Range-in-charge and Royalty Hammer.


        5.   Trucking stage ( Trucking out of the forest )

(i)                Forest Road Instruction is done only during the dry season. The forest roads are constructed on the temporary basis, hence, the lesser the cost the better. Forest Roads are constructed in the open season, from November to end of May, before the rain.They are decommisioned after the end of trucking.

(ii)             Forest road construction included maintenance of existing forest roads, as well as new branch road and feeder roads.

(iii)           Forest road construction operations need to identify the following:-

-    Access points to public roads and existing forest roads

-    proposted road location and harvesting areas

-    gentle slopes and better alignment and landing points

-    steep slopes, swamps, landslide

-    protected forests and exclusion areas

-    stream crossing points

(iv)           Trucks are issued a set of trucking slips.


        6.   Transporation of logs from depot to the terminal depots, railway siding and main river bank depots are as following:-

-    Transporation by Rafts to Yangon

-    Transporation by barges to Yangon

-    Transporation by Railway to Yangon

-    Transporation by Trucks to Yangon

-    Transporation of logs at this stage, Removal Pass and measurement

   list are issued for each consignment.




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