CAS IN MYANMAR
Myanmar (formerly Burma) lies at the crossroads of three biogeographic regions, the tropical Southeast Asia-Malaysian realm, tropical montane Indian subcontinent, and the temperate Himalayan-Yunnan montane arc, resulting in a high diversity of habitats, flora, and fauna. It encompasses up to twenty of World Wildlife Fund’s Global 200 Ecoregions, which represent some of the most important conservation priorities on the planet. It is also one of the least developed of the Southeast Asian countries, and still harbors large areas of pristine habitat. Because Myanmar is one of the least studied of all biodiversity “hotspots”, it has become a top priority for international conservation.
Learn more about the people and institutions involved and our conservation actions in Myanmar.
People and Institutions
In 1999, the late Dr. Joe Slowinski of the CAS Herpetology dept. embarked on a collaboration with Dr. George Zug of the Smithsonian Institution to survey the amphibians and reptiles of Myanmar. They built a partnership with Mr. Khin Maung Zaw of the Nature and Wildlife Conservation Division, in the Forestry Department of Myanmar. To date this collaborative project has cataloged about 9,000 specimens, including several previously undescribed species as well as species newly recorded for Myanmar. At the CAS Herpetology Dept, Dr. Al Leviton and Jens Vindum continue to actively work on the project, while graduate students Guin Wogan and Rhonda Lucas are conducting thesis research on the herpetofauna of Myanmar. To see photos of the MBM, the Burmese field crew, newly described species, areas surveyed and other information, visit the Myanmar Project website.
The Myanmar Herpetofauna Survey Project is dedicated to building in-country expertise that will allow Burmese biologists to understand and manage their native flora and fauna. The project has trained a team of Burmese forestry biologists to document species occurrences, and has established a new museum, the Myanmar Biodiversity Museum (MBM). The MBM houses the natural history collections created from this and other surveys, as well as a scientific library, and Burmese biologists Kyi Soe Lwin and Thin Thin have been trained as the museums first collections managers. The newly acquired knowledge from the Myanmar Herpetofauna Survey has been important in the regional assessment of the status of southeast Asian frogs. On behalf of the Myanmar Project, Guin Wogan attended the IUCN/CIGlobal Amphibian Assessment Southeast Asian Working Group meeting in Bangkok to share information on the status of southeast Asian frogs.
Read about new species described by CAS research in Myanmar