Exploring Myanmar, the Golden Land
Fascinating Myanmar (formerly Burma) is known for its ancient archaeological sites and abundant plant and animal species. A hotspot of global biodiversity, it has the most forest cover— 66 percent—of any country in Southeast Asia. It is also a stronghold for tigers, elephants, and the rare Eld’s deer, among other important species. New discoveries by botanists and ornithologists are common, and recent news about political reform should hearten scientists used to dealing with government-imposed restrictions.
Myanmar’s cultural and biological diversity attracted Smithsonian scientists as far back as the late 1950s, when former Smithsonian Secretary S. Dillon Ripley visited Nagaland on the Myanmar-India border region while conducting ornithological research.
In an evening Smithsonian seminar, Melissa Songer and Peter Leimgruber, scientists with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute who have worked in Myanmar for more than a decade, lead a virtual tour of this country that has been largely unseen by the rest of the world. They also discuss how Smithsonian investigators are facilitating conservation efforts to help mitigate the country’s loss of critical habitats.
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