Hukawng Valley wildlife survey delayed
A survey on tigers and monkeys in the Hukawng Valley in northern Myanmar has been delayed for security purposes, despite plans for its resumption early this year.
“We have a plan to conduct the survey, but cannot say when we will start it,” said an official from the Wildlife Conservation Society (Myanmar) on condition of anonymity.
“We cannot say the number of the endangered species in the Hukawng Valley because we have not yet entered the forest since 2011, he added.
The number of the tigers and other endangered species are expected to have fluctuated since 2011, the year the last survey was taken, because human-made paths into the forest have been discovered, he said.
According to a report by the Wildlife Conservation Society released in October 2010, only 50 tigers remain in the Hukawng Valley.
Gold mining in the Hukawng Valley Tiger Reserve, the world’s largest tiger reserve, is blamed for devastating the tigers’ habitat. The reserve is home to 35 species of mammals, such as the Indochinese tiger, Indochinese leopard, Indian elephant and bears and monkeys; over 370 species of birds; 46 species of frogs; 37 species of fresh water fish; four species of turtle; many species of butterfly and 13,500 plant species.
The Hukawng Valley Tiger Reserve covers 21,890 square kilometres. The Myanmar government has also designated 6,500 square kilometres of the valley as a protected forest reserve.
Myanmar is home to a rich variety of habitats and ecosystems, including 14 terrestrial eco-regions supporting 233 globally threatened species.
Among those species are 37 that are critically endangered and 65 that are endangered. The country contains large expanses of species-rich and globally threatened ecosystems, such as lowland tropical forests and mangrove ecosystems, which are critically threatened elsewhere in the region.