Karen Wildlife Conservation Initiative

Wildlife Asia co-ordinates the Karen Wildlife Conservation Initiative (KWCI) in partnership with the Karen Forestry Department and local organisation KESAN to protect this biodiversity hotspot which is only now becoming accessible. Decades of instability and military conflict has isolated this region from poaching and development resulting in large areas of intact forest remaining with a full component of wildlife species.  This area is as nature intended but we have one chance to save it.

The magnificent forests of Karen State, Myanmar. Copyright- Adam Oswell/KWCI.

The magnificent forests of Karen State, Myanmar. Copyright- Adam Oswell/KWCI.

As the Myanmar government advances with political reform and subsequent accessibility, the wildlife will inevitably come under increased threat as the outside world makes a grab for natural resources and poachers begin to target the rich fauna and flora this region offers.

The Karen Wildlife Conservation Initiative (KWCI) is a multi-organisation group, including representation from the Karen Forestry Division of the Karen National Union (KNU), and was established in 2012 with the objective of conserving biodiversity and ensuring the protection of threatened wildlife in Karen State, Burma (Myanmar).

The Karen people are enormously proud and protective of their biodiversity and habitat, despite such a troubled history and conservation in this region presents an opportunity to work collaboratively and support the  peaceful reconciliation process in Myanmar.

KWCI’s mission is to support the Karen to provide immediate protection to threatened wildlife populations by mitigating poaching and assisting to establish suitable protected status of the forests.

Current conservation programs are focused on:

  • Monitoring, evaluation and assessment of wildlife through the implementation of on going biodiversity surveys in priority areas. This project will provide the first assessments of species richness in regions of Karen State.
  • Training and deployment of Wildlife Protection Units (WPU). Currently six teams of 10 members are deployed in the area to monitor for illegal activities and ensure protection of wildlife populations in the area.
  • Capacity Building- building of local teams through the facilitation of training activities for field based and administrative staff.
Training Wildlife Protection Units. Copyright- Adam Oswell/KWCI.

Training Wildlife Protection Units. Copyright- Adam Oswell/KWCI.

KWCI is also assisting with long-term strategic planning including the establishment of nationally recognised protected areas, biodiversity mapped and actively managed, enabling wildlife conservation and the sustainable exploitation of forest resources by the indigenous Karen people.

Wildlife Asia Director, Clare Campbell working with local partners to plan for the protection of wildlife in Karen State. Copyright- Adam Oswell/KWCI.

Wildlife Asia Director, Clare Campbell working with local partners to plan for the protection of wildlife in Karen State. Copyright- Adam Oswell/KWCI.

We are currently seeking major donors for this project. If you would like to play a part in protecting this area, before it’s too late please contact us today for more information. clare.campbell@wildlifeasia.org.au or +61 438 992 325


Coming soon!

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