September 23, 2008

Burma Takes Measures for Wildlife Conservation – Chinese Agency

Text of report in English by official Chinese news agency Xinhua (New China News Agency)

[Xinhua: "Myanmar Takes Measures for Wildlife Conservation"]

Yangon [Rangoon], Sept. 23 (Xinhua) - Myanmar [Burma] has taken measures for wildlife conservation by restricting the catching of elephant in the country's Bago Yoma mountain range where most of the animal take sanctuary, the local Weekly Eleven journal reported Tuesday.

In order to prevent elephant from extinction in the country, the Myanmar forestry authorities allowed catching of the wild elephants in the mountain range's Hlegu area only once in three years, prescribing the ratio of the elephants caught to be handed over to the authorities, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the authorities also called on the country's people to participate in the task for conservation of rare birds and wildlife to stabilize the ecosystem which faces collapse as in the world, singling out that there are only nine endangered species out of 144 in the world can be found in Myanmar.

Golden deer, one of the nine species in existence in Myanmar, are being protected in Chatthin Sanctuary in northwestern Sagaing division, the authorities said, adding that "though three kinds of species of the golden deer are found in South East Asia, there are now only Myanmar golden deer left".

Noting that the population of tigers worldwide gradually declines with tiger species being available in 13 countries only, the authorities said Myanmar is cooperating with seven other Asian nations in an effort to establish a tiger protection corridor which extends as 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometres) for endangered ones.

Disclosing that there are only 100 tigers left in Myanmar, the authorities said, in cooperation with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), tiger conservation is being undertaken in Hukaung Valley, the geographical condition of which creates a suitable place for survival of the tigers.

The authorities stressed the need also to conserve the environment, saying that too much extraction of wildlife, plants and fish, establishment of plantation after clearing, the natural forests and pollution endanger the existence of biodiversity in the long run.

The authorities also called for systematic control of indiscriminate cutting down of trees, hunting and trading of wildlife products.

According to the authorities, only about 150 tigers remain alive in Myanmar's tiger reserve.

The tiger data collection of the forestry ministry was jointly carried out with the cooperation of the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) since 1998 with the use of camera trap as well as modern scientific method.

The Hukuang Tiger Reserve in Myanmar's northernmost Kachin state, which was established in 2004, covers an area of about 22, 000 square kilometres, and is claimed the largest of its kind in the world.

In the wake of tiger extinction threat, Myanmar wildlife police and forest rangers have planned to step up combating wildlife trade and crimes in the tiger reserve and special training programmes have been introduced jointly by the Myanmar forest ministry and the WCS.

The authorities have called for creating a balance between the needs of local communities and the wildlife, which constitutes one of the major challenges for them.

Tigers are also facing extinction all over the world due mainly to the international trade in body parts destined for the Asian traditional medicine market, wildlife biologists said.

Meanwhile, the Myanmar authorities have warned traditional medicine practitioners in the country to avoid using tiger bones in producing their medicinal products to help conserve endangered animal species.

As tiger has been prescribed as "completely protected" under the Protection of Wildlife and Conservation of Natural Areas Law since 1994, the ministry urged the practitioners to keep away from such practice, otherwise such species would vanish in the country.

Myanmar was estimated to have over 3,000 Bengal and Indochina tigers by 1980, the second in Asia after India, according to experts.

Originally published by Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 0419 23 Sep 08.

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