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Myanmar is a land full of richness in nature and the diversity of species. The ecosystems in this country constitute one of the biological reservoirs in Asia. The land area of Myanmar is 261,228 square miles, with a variety of natural resources, plants and animals. The Ministry of Forestry is responsible for maintaining the forests of Myanmar. There are over 7,000 plants and over 1,000 endemic species. Also, there are about 1,000 bird species, 300 mammals, 350 reptiles on record. The richness of the biodiversity in nature gives Myanmar a potential for Ecotourism. The general concept of ecotourism is to restrict the number of visitors within the carrying capacity of the ecotourism site. The allowable tourism level at such areas will vary with the tolerant sensitivity of the type of forests and its environment. Now there are nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries for ecotourism development. Some of the ecotourism sites are mentioned here.
NATIONAL KANDAWGYI GARDEN
National Kandawgyi Garden is located in Pyin Oo Lwin, Mandalay. The area is about 344.81 acres and was established in 1915. This Garden was formerly known as National Botanical Garden. It serves as a recreation center and an ecotourism site.
MOEYUNGYI WETLAND WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Moeyungyi Wetland Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Waw Township, Bago Division. It is a land of 40 square miles. This sanctuary was established in 1986. This sanctuary is to conserve resident and migratory water birds and their habitants.
INLE LAKE SANCTUARY
Inle Lake Sanctuary is a wetland sanctuary and located in Naung Shwe, Pinlaung and Peh Kon Townships of Southern Shan State. It covers an area of 642.32 square miles and was established in 1985. The sanctuary is to conserve and protect natural vegetation, wetland birds and fresh water fishes in Inle sanctuary.
SHWESETTAW WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Shwesettaw Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Minbu, Setote-taya, Saku and Ngapeh Townships of Magway Region. The total area is 213.4 square miles. It was established in 1940. This sanctuary is to conserve the deer of Myanmar and the dry zone.
Myanmar is rich in nature and resources. The elephant is not only of great cultural and historical significance in Myanmar, but is also of major economic importance in the country's timber industry. The elephants of Myanmar are providing an invaluable service to the country not merely by supporting the national economy but, more importantly, by conserving the environment.
MYAING HAY WUN
Located in Taikkyi Township of Yangon Division, Myaing Hay Wun Elephant Camp covers an area of 10 acres. It was established in 1986. It is easily accessible by car from Yangon to Taikkyi Township and only about 90 minutes drive. The wildlife in this camp include Elephant, Guar, Banteng, Barking deer, Wild boar, Hare Wild cat, Green Peafowl, Ruddy sheld duck, Hill myna, Blossom-headed parakeet, Pheasant, Red jungle fowl, Quail, Dove, Duck, lesser tree duck, Butterflies, Moths, Snakes, Monitar lizard, Ground lizard and Chameleon. Along the trekking journey by riding elephant you will see beauty and serenities of natural virgin forest and its surrounding would be unforgettable.
Pho Kyar Forest Resort
Pho Kyar Forest Resort is located in Yedashe township of Thargara. It is 10 miles 2 furlong from Thargara, in the area of Swa forest reserve area, on the bank of Thaing creek. The resort has 20 acres in area. This forest is accessible from Yangon via Swa Township by car which is about 204 miles. Like many other forest resorts, it has a great opportunity to study natural forest plants including different species of hardwood, large forests teak wood, other valuable forest plants, different life span bamboos, cane and various floras.
The Andaman Sea is a body of water located in the southeast of the Bay of Bengal, south of Myanmar, west Thailand and east of the Andaman Islands. It is a part of the Indian Ocean. It is roughly 1200 kilometers long (north-south) and 650 kilometers wide (east-west), with an area of 797,700 km square. Its average depth is 870 meters, and the maximum depth is 3,777 meters. Hence with the area that Andaman occupies, there are many marine lives, rare species of plants and undersea lives.
UNDERWATER GARDENS ( ANDAMAN SEA)
Whale Sharks are found in Myanmar marine life of the Anadaman Sea. Manta Ray is found at Myanmar's Black Rock, North Twin and Klaus Reef. Gray reef sharks from Myanmar's shark cave and juvenile silvertip reef sharks from the Myanmar Banks are popular species to observe when diving. Giant Anglerfish are astonishing giant anglerfish, perfectly disguised on the reef as a sponge. Myanmar Black Rock also has some 20 black blotched stingrays. At Western Rocky Island of the Myeik archipelago there inhabits aggressive big red octopuses. In the depths of the Myeik Archipelago, the fish use their mouth to build enormous mounds of dead coral. When threatened, the fish dive head first into the rubble. These species remain non descriptable by scientists and provisionally named them Hoplolatilus hopei, or Hope's tilefish.
The Myeik Archipelago ( Mergui Archipelago ) is off the western shore of the Malay Peninsula in far southern Myanmar. It consists of more than 800 islands, varying in size from very small to hundreds of square kilometers. The local people are an ethnic minority called the Moken, sometimes known as a sea-gypsies, although this term actually covers several groups in Southeast Asia. They are the sea-dwelling people and they follow a traditional way of life, doing things such as fishing and building boats in the way they have been done for centuries. They can be found living on their traditional boats during the dry season, but usually keep to land in the rainy season. Liveaboard cruise is the way for visitors to reach diving areas with names such as Big Bank, Rainbow Reef or Silvertip Bank. The best diving conditions in Myanmar exist from December to April.