Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, conjures images of archetypal Asian jungle: lush forests dripping with moisture, prowled by tigers, and alive with the trumpeting of elephants.
Myanmar’s wildlife include a mix of species from north, south and southeast Asia, which find shelter in a wide range of habitats throughout the country. Snow-capped and remote Himalayan Mountains crown the north, and serve as the headwaters for some of Myanmar’s major rivers. The rivers flow through wide, central plains and down to mangrove-lined river deltas before emptying into the Bay of Bengal. Along the country’s southern tail, the coastal waters abound with coral reefs amidst more than 800 islands of the Mergui archipelago. Read more about where we work in Myanmar.
The Southern Forests Complex hosts a unique mix of terrestrial and marine wildlife home to some of the rarest and most beautiful wildlife species in south-east Asia. In the Taninthay Region in southern Myanmar a marine corridor covering 65,780 km2 stretches encompassing 1195 islands in the Bay of Bengal. We have identified 6 Key Biodiversity areas within this corridor, which include the Lampi Marine National Park and the Moscos Island Wildlife Sanctuary. Here several priority species flourish, such as the finless porpoise, dugongs, sharks and a variety of marine turtles. Beautiful and fragile corals, sea-grass and mangroves populate the seal floors and are at the foundation of this thriving ecosystem. Read more about the Taninthay Marine Corridor.
Along the Irrawaddy River, WCS is working to protect the freshwater populations of Irrawaddy dolphins. In 2006, with WCS aid, the government of Myanmar established a protected area in a section of the river to support this endangered species. The dolphins play a special role in local culture, particularly for the area’s fishermen. In a unique tradition, the dolphins voluntarily herd fish into nets, which can increase the size of fishermen’s catch by threefold. The dolphins themselves also benefit by preying on the cornered fish and those that fall out of the nets as the fishermen pull them from the water. The protected area, which spans a 43-mile length of the river, is helping to boost public awareness of the Irrawaddy dolphin and its unique role in the river’s livelihoods. Read more about the Irrawaddy River landscape and the Irrawaddy Dolphin.
All over the country WCS also work to protect Myanmar’s endangered endemic tortoises and turtles, including the Burmese roof terrapin, known only to inhabit a river in the north of the country. WCS is safeguarding the turtle’s nesting beaches and has helped set up a captive breeding colony using animals confiscated from illegal traders. Read more about the conservation of Turtles and Tortoises.