Elephant at work [Rangoon] 88151
Photographer: Klier, Philip Adolphe (c.1845-1911)
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of an elephant at work in a timber yard at Rangoon (Yangon), Burma (Myanmar), taken by Philip Adolphe Klier in c.1890. This view shows the elephant shifting a baulk of teak using its trunk with the mahout seated on the animal’s back. Burma has the world’s largest herd of working elephants, most of which are used in logging and agriculture. The country’s vast mixed deciduous forests are one of its greatest natural resources and under British rule in the 19th century, timber was one of Burma’s three principal export commodities, the others being rice and oil. Timber was extracted using elephants and buffalo, and floated in rafts down rivers such as the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) to timber yards and saw mills in Rangoon and other towns where it was classified and sold locally or sawn up for export to Europe.