Myanmar has a network of nine National Parks and over 20 Nature Reserves that cover a myriad of landscapes, ecosystems and geological formations. They cover wetlands, coastline and mountains and also encompass the two types of indigenous forest - monsoon and tropical. Such diverse habitats means a huge array of flora and bird life.
The mammals have been under more pressure but recent surveys have brought hope that several endangered species still have small but viable populations. These include the Asian elephant, with an estimated population of 2,000 split between the north and south of the country, the Indochina Tiger and clouded leopards. The animals are however very hard to see and classified as endangered or critically endangered.
The Rakhine Yoma Elephant Range is located to the south west of Myanmar, near to the coastline of the Bay of Bengal. The National Park covers over 1,700 sq. km of forest and is home to Asian elephants. Several simple eco lodges exist for the visitor to stay at.
The largest National Park in the country is Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park (see map). Originally designated reserves by the British administration in the 1890's it was made a National Park in 1984. Comprising of steep sided valleys covered in thick vegetation that rise to over 4,000 ft and from which three rivers emerge. Its fauna include a small population of Asian elephants, clouded leopards, jungle cats, Himalayan brown bears and sun bears. The park is also famous for its orchids which thrive in the conditions.
If you enjoy walking and culture you should consider a visit to Nat Ma Taung, or Mt. Victoria National Park. It's possible to trek to the summit of this 10,016 ft mountain, part of the Chin Hills that is inhabited by the Chin tribe, a fascinating cultural group who historically tattoo the faces of the women. It is situated to the west of the country.
Myanmar offers the most potential of many Asian countries when it comes to potential conservation work. It still contains areas of wilderness with low population densities where wild animals can live and thrive. As the population grows and the country opens after years of International isolation the pressure on this land and habitat will grow. By visiting the parks and showing the local population as well as the central Government that preserving wildlife is of financial benefit to them, endangered wildlife like tigers, pangolins and lemurs can be helped.