Critically endangered white-bellied heron recorded in Myanmar

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Critically endangered white-bellied heron recorded by NSCI group, young Myanmar research team.

White-bellied heron, a critically endangered bird more rare than leopard with a total number of about 40 in Myanmar, has been recorded by NSCI group, a young Myanmar research team.

One of the rarest species in the world, It is found only in the northern Myanmar and there are only about 40 birds in Myanmar.

“White-bellied heron is found only in Kachin State and Sagaing Region. It is mainly found in Bhutan, Myanmar and India, east of Himalayan ranges. Some say it is also found in Bangladesh, but it’s not sure,” an NSCI official told the Global New Light of Myanmar (GNLM).

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Critically endangered white-bellied heron recorded by NSCI group, young Myanmar research team.

Phong San Dakaw, a member of NSCI, recorded white-bellied heron in Kachin State, where it is hunted for food by locals and is in urgent need of protection and preservation.

“Local poachers  hunt this bird and sell it for meat. It is not exported like other wildlife. Some shoot it with pellet guns. There used to be many, but U Thet Zaw Naing of NSCI said there are only about 40 left now,” he said.

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Critically endangered white-bellied heron recorded by NSCI group, young Myanmar research team.

Like egrets, this  heron lives near rivers, streams and waterfalls, and sleeps on trees. It can be seen coming down to the stream and is easy to catch and kill, he said.

It is rarer than Irrawaddy dolphin, leopard and red panda, and without protection, it could become extinct in the next five years.

“This heron needs to be protected like tigers and leopards. In other countries, they are kept in camps for breeding. First of all, we must educate locals about its endangered status and significance, so that they do not kill it. Some locals may hunt it out of ignorance. Without protection, all herons could become extinct in the next five years. Its population is smaller than that of red panda, leopard and Irrawaddy dolphin,” he added.

MT/ZN

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