Chances for Nature in Myanmar - Nature interpretation and environmental education
at Indawgyi Lake, Kachin State, Myanmar
Indawgyi lake is located in Kachin State, Northern Myanmar. This unique wetland system is home to rare bird and wildlife species and is also one of the most important migratory bird locations in Asia. In 2004 the region was designated Indawgyi Lake Wildlife Sanctuary by the Myanmar government. Indawgyi is currently being considered as UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The sanctuary’s fauna includes 37 species of mammal, 350 forest birds, 99 water-birds (including Lesser Adjutant Stork, Woolly-necked Stork, four species of vulture, Sarus Crane), 80 species of fish. The wetlands are one of the most important roosting sites for migratory birds on their way between Siberia and South-east Asia and Australia.
The livelihoods of the predominantly Shan and Kachin communities around the lake are agriculture- and fisheries- based. It is one of the largest natural inland lakes in Southeast Asia.
The main threats to the environment include unsustainable fishing practicies, boat traffic, pollution from households, agriculture and illegal gold mining. Wastewater and sediments of mining activities severely threaten the water quality of the lake. Deforestation will in the long-term have effects on erosion and the health of the lake.
Chances for Nature is aiming to the contribute to the conservation of this unique wetland habitat and its birds and wildlife by providing supporting environmental education and awareness as well as local ecotourism activities. Our local project partner FFI Myanmar is working since serveral years at Indawgyi lake resulting in the nomination of the area as UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve (MaB). The proposed environmental education center is an vital part of the MaB`s infrastructure, enhancing capacity building, species conservation, sustainable use of resources, environmental awareness and ecotourism.
The location will Lonton at the west bank of Indawgyi lake. The projected visitor and interpretation center will function as an important educational and cultural resource for locals, visitors, researchers, students, and the Indawgyi communities, which includes Burmese and people internationally.
Themes of the exhibition:
- Indawgyi Lake`s geology and ecosystems
- fish and fisheries
- threats to the lake
The visitor center should also enhance the activities of the local ecotourism group Inn Chitu. It will provide space for their office as well as for storage of bikes and kayaks.
Included will be a fully-equipped classroom, which can be used to conduct educative programs for schoolchildren, English language classes, hospitality and tourism trainings, as well as trainings in sustainable agriculture and fisheries for local people. Our local partner FFI has already a permanent staff member for environmental awareness and education at Indawgyi lake.