The Myanmar Times
The Myanmar Times

Meinmahla Kyun wildlife sanctuary designated Ramsar site

The Meinmahla Kyun wetland reserve in Ayeyarwady Region has been designated a Ramsar site, joining two other such sites in Myanmar.

Sunrise from Moe Yun Gyi Lake on February 2, 2017. Photo: Zarni Phyo / The Myanmar TimesSunrise from Moe Yun Gyi Lake on February 2, 2017. Photo: Zarni Phyo / The Myanmar Times

The designation was announced at a ceremony held at the Moe Yoon Gyi wildlife sanctuary on World Wetlands Day which falls on February 2.

According to the joint announcement by the Myanmar Government and Ramsar Secretariat, the designation of the Meinmahla Kyun Ramsar site is to protect the whole coastal ecosystem in the area, including the mangroves, mudflats, and turtle nestling beaches.

The Meinmahla Kyun reserve hosts the world’s largest population of critically endangered mangrove plant species, and more than 20 species of threatened fauna including the critically endangered mangrove terrapin, endangered wild dog, Irrawaddy dolphins and lesser adjutant stork.

The migrant bird species included the endangered the spoon-billed sandpiper, Nordmann’s greenshank and great knot, which makes the reserve important for shorebird conservation.

There are some 30 villages in the Meinmahla Kyun reserve.

The other two Ramsar sites in Myanmar are the Indawgyi wildlife sanctuary, and Moe Yoon Gyi wildlife sanctuary.

“Wetland areas are important for Myanmar and are essential for agriculture in the country,” said U Khin Mg Yi, permanent secretariat of the ministry of natural resources and environmental conservation .

“We need to conserve the wetland areas effectively not only to reduce climate change, and environmental disasters which are being faced all over the world, but also to increase the development of the country and improve the economic lives of the people,” said U Khin Mg Yi.

The director general of the forest department, U Nyi Nyi Kyaw, said many people did not understand the importance of conserving wetlands.

“Some people think there is nothing for the local people to do after the area is recognised as a Ramsar Site. That is not true. More beneficial opportunities would be gained after it,” U Nyi Nyi Kyaw told The Myanmar Times.

“If we care about the wetlands and if we maintain healthy wetlands, we could reduce the damage from disasters and that’s why we are trying to preserve the wetlands “ Dr. Lew Young, a senior adviser with the Ramsar Secretariat, said at the
ceremony.

The Ramsar convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971. Myanmar joined as a member of Ramsar convention in 1997.