Myanmar holds art festival to raise wildlife conservation awareness

YANGON (Xinhua) – Myanmar held an art and music festival, ‘Voices for Wildlife’, aiming to support the government’s combat on illegal wildlife trade as well as to raise awareness of wildlife conservation in the country. Friday’s festival showcased varieties of wildlife-themed activities, displaying wildlife-themed artworks and performances by local artistes.

Yangon region authorities recently announced a ban on all illegal sales across the region, devising Yangon as the first city in Southeast Asia to become ‘Illegal wildlife trade free’ region.

Wildlife trafficking is in fact the fourth biggest transnational crime after drugs, weapons and human trafficking. “We congratulate the regional government of Yangon on taking this step to end this crime across the region and will continue working closely with the national, regional and state governments to support the roll out of this ban nationwide,” Country Director of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – Myanmar Christy Williams told a media conference on the day.

“Our wildlife is our true wealth, more precious than gold and it is our responsibility to protect this wealth, our natural heritage for future generations,” said local artist Arker Kyaw.

Meanwhile, local and international non-governmental organisations are accelerating efforts to expand the area of land for wildlife reserve in the country.

The authorities have designated 42 protected areas which accounts for 5.79 per cent of total country area so far in Myanmar. In accordance with the conservation of biodiversity and protected areas law promulgated in May this year, wildlife protection is classified in three levels – totally protected, normally protected and seasonally protected species.

Elephant, tiger, leopard, gaur, bear, golden deer, pangolin, etc are included in the list of totally protected species.