UNESCO designates Indawgyi Lake as a Biosphere Reserve


Idawgyi Lake. Photo: Mark Inkey

UNESCO has designated Indawgyi Lake in Kachin State—the largest freshwater lake in the country and the third largest in Southeast Asia—as a Biosphere Reserve, state media reported on 4 September. The recognition is the second of its kind for Myanmar. In 2015, Inle Lake in Shan State was granted UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status for its ecological importance.

Spanning over an area of 133,715 hectares, the Biosphere Reserve of Indawgyi Lake includes the lake and the surrounding wetlands and forest to a distance of about 15 kilometres. Indawgyi Lake is also home to more than 160 bird species—some of which are globally threatened water birds—as well as turtle species, endemic fish, mammals, reptiles and primates. Every year in the fall, migratory birds from as far as Siberia find solace around the area within Indawgyi Lake Wildlife Sanctuary.

Indawgyi is not the only site in Myanmar recognized by UNESCO. Up till now only the Pyu Ancient cities (the remains of three brick, walled and moated cities of Halin, Beikthano and Sri Ksetra are listed as World Heritage these sites have been listed since 2014.

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