From Wildlife Extra:
Myanmar wetland to be protected by the country’s first eco-tourism initiative
A bird-haven in northern Myanmar is to benefit from a government-led, community-based, eco-tourism initiative that will ensure visitors to the area help protect, not damage, its unique habitat.
One of the biggest inland stretches of water in Southeast Asia, Indawgyi Lake, is a mecca for nearly 100 different species of migratory birds that flock there in their thousands for their winter season, from as far away as Siberia.
These include several species of global conservation concern such as the slender-billed vulture, Pallas’s fish-eagle, greater spotted eagle, sarus crane, spot-billed pelican, oriental darter, and black-necked stork.
High-level officials from Myanmar’s government have agreed a strategy with local community representatives that will help protect the area, while providing real economic benefits to local people.
This is the first of such initiative in Myanmar, and it is being supported by Fauna and Flora International, which is providing training to the locals, as well as kayaks and mountain bikes that can be rented to tourists to explore the beautiful lake and forests of the surrounding area.
“We are supporting sustainable ecotourism, which creates revenues for local communities,” said Frank Momberg, FFI Myanmar Director.
“The kayaks in particular offer a nature experience in complete lake serenity, instead of joining the tourist hordes in noisy motorboats on Inle Lake, which is Myanmar’s most visited natural site.”
It is hoped this scheme could prevent mistakes that have been made during the development of other regions, including Inle Lake, that can lead to serious environmental degradation.