Due to its diverse landscapes, Myanmar is home to a vast range of flora and fauna. Tigers reside in the northern forests, crocodiles live in the delta region and rare snub-nosed monkey’s hide out in the mountains- just a few of the exotic species found within Myanmar’s borders. As the country has developed, many of the natural habitats for animals and birds have been destroyed leading to dwindling populations of some species.
Thankfully there are passionate conservationists working tirelessly to protect Myanmar’s endangered species and their habitats. A few of these projects allow tourists to visit. These are great excursions for nature lovers as they are not only fun but also help visitors learn about the animals and the work being done to protect them.
Here are three of the best wildlife conservation projects to discover on your Myanmar holiday:
IRRAWADDY DOLPHINS (MANDALAY)- Irrawaddy Dolphins are one of only five dolphin species globally to reside in freshwater. Once found in the thousands along the Irrawaddy River, the population in Myanmar is currently less than 80 dolphins. The Myanmar government, along with various wildlife organizations, developed a ‘dolphin protection zone’ to the north of Mandalay. Living Irrawaddy Dolphin Project works closely with the villages and fishermen in this zone to further protect the natural habitat of the area and to reduce the risk of dolphin deaths from things like electric fishing. Tourists can learn more about the project’s activities on a memorable two-day Irrawaddy River boat trip. In addition to going on dolphin-watching excursions, guests will have the opportunity to meet with local fishermen, visit typical riverside villages and sleep in a comfortable tent on the banks of the Irrawaddy River.
GREEN HILL VALLEY ELEPHANT PROJECT (KALAW)- Myanmar’s timber enterprise has relied heavily on elephant labor since the 1800s. The strong but agile animals are able to haul tree trunks and logs through dense jungle terrain. There are still around 5000 elephants used in the logging industry in Myanmar and a further 1000-2000 wild elephants within they country’s borders. Once the logging elephants have grown too old to work or become permanently injured, they are released into the wild to die. One project, Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp, is aiming to protect these ‘retired’ elephants. Green Hill Valley provides food and medical treatment for seven elephants, as well as ample space to roam free and forage in the surrounding hills. Tourists can support the project with a Kalaw day trip to Green Hill Valley. Feed the elephants, bathe them in the river, plant a tree in the jungle plantation and learn more about the conservation efforts of the team.
STAR TORTOISE (NEAR BAGAN)- Myanmar has dozens of turtle species, many of which are under threat due to the destruction of their native habitats. One of these species is the Burmese Star Tortoise. Named for the star-like pattern found on their back, the tortoises were critically endangered until recently. Thanks to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the population is on the rise again after successfully breeding and reintroducing these captive-bred tortoises to the wild. On the road between Mandalay and Bagan, tourists can stop to visit the Mizontaung Wildlife Sanctuary where several of these tortoises are being bred and raised. It is a fun stop on a Myanmar family holiday or for any nature-loving traveler.
If you are ready to plan your Myanmar holiday or join one of these Myanmar animal conservation excursions, get in touch with our team of travel experts! Send an email ([email protected]) or give us a call on 09 269869090.