11 July 2019
WWF-Myanmar held a press briefing on its 'Nature in Peril Report' on Thursday in Yangon.
In the report 'Nature in Peril: The risk to forests and wildlife from the Dawei-Htee Khee Road', scientists and researchers from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) outlines the risks presented by the Dawei Road to the Dawna Tenasserim (Tanintharyi) (DT) and the proposed steps to mitigate these risks. Myanmar's lush rainforests and at least nine globally-threatened species are facing significant risks if the Dawei-Htee Khee road project ("Dawei Road") continues without a comprehensive biodiversity protection plan, conservation experts warned.
Conservation Director, WWF-Myanmar, Nicholas Cox said "So, we have many examples of roads from around the world that have also not been built very well and have not taken into consideration the impacts on wildlife, species on the forest and so we hope that Myanmar will learn from these lessons”. “There are many many examples of the many years that have shown its measures or taken to allow for wildlife to also survive in forest landscape whether or roads there are specific designs that can be done like under passage or under the road or over the passage over the road that will help to minimize the impacts on wildlife."
The 138-kilometre, two-lane Dawei Road links the Dawei Special Economic Zone to Thailand and runs through the DT, one of the largest stretches of connected forest in Asia which spans the borders of Myanmar and Thailand.
Conservation Director, WWF-Myanmar, Nicholas Cox said "...We hope that the Dawei Road will prove to be an example of how to care about building road and more sustainable ways not just in southern Myanmar but across the whole country. We know that investment and infrastructure is really important for Myanmar for economic development. But just that's people need roads and wildlife also needs highways. We need wild highways so that forest and wildlife are also connected."
The DT is home to amazing wildlife, pristine forests, and diverse local communities. The landscape serves as safe harbor to 168 mammal species, 568 bird species and thousands of reptile, amphibian, insect, fish and plant species.
Conservation Director, WWF-Myanmar, Nicholas Cox said "So, we look at the Dawna to national landscape and especially along the Dawei Road and Tenasserim Region. There are many mammal species found in this landscape that have now been lost from other parts of Myanmar and from other parts of Southeast Asia that includes the biggest species, the big cat, the tiger, which is still found in this landscape as well as other wild cats, leopard, clouded leopard, and the tiger is critically endangered species. So, this landscape and so in Myanmar is important not just for Myanmar but also for the world to protect the habitat where the tiger still lives."
Nature in Peril is the fourth in a series of reports published by WWF-Myanmar and its partners which delves into the biodiversity value of the DT and the environmental challenges caused by people and projects.
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