During our 116 years history, we have forged the power of our global conservation work to create the world’s most comprehensive conservation organization. We currently manage about 500 conservation projects in more than 60 countries; and educate millions of visitors at our five living institutions in New York City on important issues affecting our planet.
With a commitment to protect 25 percent of the world’s biodiversity, we address four of the biggest issues facing wildlife and wild places: climate change; natural resource exploitation; the connection between wildlife health and human health; and the sustainable development of human livelihoods. While taking on these issues, we manage more than 200 million acres of protected land around the world, with more than 200 scientists on staff.
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.
Researching tigers’ range in Northern Myanmar in Septemeber 1998.
Since 1993 the Wildlife Conservation Society is working in Myanmar. WCS was the first international organization to initiate a long-term program in the country. Ever since, we conduct biological surveys, monitor populations of key wildlife species, aid in the establishment of protected areas, and assist protected area staff with trainings on landscape management.
Currently our team consists in 79 talented people, including 60 scientists with a degree in biology, conservation or related. With 6 offices, our presence is distributed all over the country. Through two liaison offices we maintain close collaboration with government decision makers and international partners, and additional 4 field offices allow us to directly engage with nature conservation in the most valuable and unique landscapes in the Indochina region.
Working with local communities near the Tamanthi Wildlife Reserve to support land-use mapping and community ownership of natural resources.
The Northern Forests Complex is a remarkable landscape home to tigers, elephants, and other wildlife species, some of which may be new to science. Oxbow lakes and swamps dot the landscape, giving shelter to rare Asian waterbirds. WCS operates field teams in 3 sites: Hkakaborazi Natural Protected area, Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary, and Hukuang Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. In all these sites, WCS closely collaborates with the staff of the protected areas on management, research, and biodiversity monitoring.
Planning a marine exploration mission in the Andaman sea.
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.
Engaging local communities in managing the natural resources in the Tanintharyi National Park.
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.
Releasing endangered Myanmar roofed (Batagur trivittata) turtles back into the wild after a successful captive breeding program.
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.