Saturday, 17 January 2015

Wild Burma



With Myanmar now opening up, its breathtaking diversity of nature may finally be experienced by people from around the world. This was certainly the case for the BBC's stunning new three-part series called Wild Burma, which looks at the flora, fauna, animals, insects, and endangered species of the country. It also includes fascinating interviews with monks at remote monasteries and villagers, who are caught in the greed from Chinese buyers of various animal parts.

Before, most studies of the country relied on centuries-old British surveys, with the two notable exceptions being Jamie James' Snake Charmer about the tragic death of the herpetologist Dr. Joe Slowinski in Kachin State by a many-banded krait; and Alan Rabinowitz's Life in the Valley of Death and Beyond the Last Village. However, much of Rabinowitz's work has since been discredited as his personal quest for fame seemed to come into the writings.

Add to this growing collection the stunning new article that appears in this month's National Geographic, "On Myanmar's Mystery Peak, Drama and a Challenge Like No Other." In its own words, it tells the story of "a grueling trek through a jungle, followed by a treacherous climb: How one team took on one of mountaineering's biggest tests." It tells of searching for Southeast Asia's highest peak, which is the towering Hkakabo Razi in northern Myanmar, and the efforts to scale this.

We certainly hope that the greater opening of Myanmar leads to greater exploration and appreciation of its vast nature reserves!