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Myanmar to extend tiger conservation co-op project

(Xinhua)

09:03, August 30, 2011

YANGON, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar's forestry ministry will renew a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in September on cooperation in protecting Bengal tigers taking shelter at the Hukaung Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, according to the WCS Monday.

The four-year project, which will last from September 2011 to September 2015, costs 12 million U.S. dollars.

The ministry and WCS initiated an MoU in 2003 that is renewable every four years.

The country's total number of Bengal and Indo-Chinese tiger population is estimated at about 150, of which 50 to 80 exist in Hukaung, while 30 in Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary and 50 in Tanintharyi Nature Reserve.

Human encroachment on the tiger's native habitat and poaching for medicinal or consumption purposes are the main causes for the declining population of tigers.

The authorities have warned that those convicted of killing, poaching and illegally possessing tiger or its parts will be sentenced to seven years.

The Hukaung Valley Wildlife Sanctuary was extended to 17,004 square kilometers in May 2010 from 6,199 square kilometers in 2004, making it the largest tiger conservation area in the world.

In November 2010, Myanmar participated in the International Tiger Forum, held in Russia and joined by 13 countries.

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