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February 26, 2018

Ministry steps up conservation efforts for golden deer

Golden Dseen in Shwesettaw Wildlife Reserve. Photo: Myitmakha News Agency
Golden Dseen in Shwesettaw Wildlife Reserve. Photo: Myitmakha News Agency

CONSERVTION efforts for the Myanmar golden deer have been accelerated in Magwe Region’s Shwesettaw Wildlife Reserve after studies projected the extinction of the species to occur by the year 2020.
“If you compare the area of Myanmar’s forest in 1989 to today, it has nearly halved in size because of logging activities, along with the expansion of human populations and the use of forest areas for cultivation activities. A distinct decline in the number of golden deer is evident from the destruction of grazing areas and over-hunting,” said the administrator of the wildlife reserve.
Results of field studies carried out by the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry and the Wildlife Conservation Society show an alarming decline of the species over the past 45 years in Sagaing, Mandalay, Bago and Magwe regions. The first study, conducted in 1960, showed the deer thriving in 60 townships across those regions. However, the population dropped by half by 1992, with the deer living in just 34 townships. This number dropped to 18 townships by 1992, and the deer were found to be living in just 14 townships in a 2007 study.
In 1989, the golden deer lived in an area of 71,500 square kilometres. By 2014, the population was found to live in an area of just 32,000 square kilometres. Records estimate that just over 1,600 golden deer still remain.
“Bit by bit, the forest area in which golden deer graze is shrinking because of logging activities; the expansion of human populations and farmland; the construction of dams and roads; and firewood and charcoal production,” said Ko Kyaw Kyaw from the Youth Charity and Environmental Conservation Group. Streams and ponds within the wildlife reserve regularly dry out during the summer months. Projects are been drawn up to provide water to the golden deer year-round and to create grazing areas for them.— Myitmakha News Agency


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