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Kyatthin Wildlife Sanctuary

23°30'-23°42'N, 95°24'-95°40'E; approximately 180 km NNW of Mandalay in Kanbalu township, upper Sagaing Division.

Area of wetlands unknown; Wildlife Sanctuary 26,820 ha, comprising Kyatthin Wildlife Sanctuary (9,787 ha), Kyatthin Fuel Reserve (12,129 ha) and Kyatthin Extension
Reserve (4,924 ha).


Biogeographical Province:

Wetland type:
11, 12, 13, 15 & 18

Description of site:
The sanctuary lies between the Mu and Irrawaddy rivers, and has flat to undulating topography with a limited area of gullies and ridges in the west. Relatively straight and narrow streams drain the sanctuary and flow into the Mu River, a tributary of the Irrawaddy. Isolated pools remain in the drainage courses throughout the dry season, and a number of large, permanent ponds in the centre of the sanctuary, linked with seasonally flooded grassy depressions known as lwins, ensure a year-round water supply. The streams in the sanctuary have cut through a layer of alluvium to the underlying Tertiary sandstone, conglomerates and shales.

Climatic conditions:
The sanctuary is located on the northern edge of Burma's Dry Zone, and thus has a low annual rainfall of about 1,100-1,500 mm. The monsoon season from June to October is characterized by erratic showers, light southerly winds, moderate temoeratures and overcast conditions. Maximum and minimum temperatures at Shwebo, some 1)') km to the south, range between 40.5°C and 3.0°C, with a mean annual temperature of 29.4°C.

Principal vegetation:
The vegetation has been modified as a result of the extraction of firewood and annual burning of the grassland. Deciduous dipterocarp forest covers most of the sanctuary, and is dominated by Diplerocarpus Tuberculatus, Shorea oblongifolia and Pentacme siamensis. On more shallow, eroded soils and in areas of abandoned cultivation, secondary growth and scrub predominate, with some bamboo, particularly near the northeastern boundary. The lwins support a variety of tall grasses, and there are areas of aquatic vegetation as well as paddy cultivation. A 6.4 km wide strip, centered about an abandoned railway line, has been extensively planted for fuelwood, mainly D. tuberculatus with some Eucalyptus sp (FAO, 1982a).

Land tenure:
No information.

Conservation measures taken:
The Wildlife Sanctuary was established under Department of Agriculture and Forests Notification No.117 dated 19 June 1941. Under this notification, the Kyatthin Fuel Reserve and the Kyatthin Extension Reserve became incorporated into the newly constituted Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary was established to protect Thamin (Cervus eldi thamin), which receive nationwide protection from hunting under the 1936 Burma Wildlife Protection Act.

Conservation measures proposed:
In 1982, FAO made a series of recommendations aimed at safeguarding the Thamin population. These included: (a) appointment of a sanctuary superintendent and ten guards; (b) construction of an office in the sanctuary; (c) control over bullock-cart traffic; (d) regulation of the extraction of forest produce; (e) initiation of research into Thamin ecology; and (f) realignment of the boundaries to exclude two villages from the sanctuary and to explore the possibility of its expansion to the south (FAO, 1982a). Blower (1983) recommended that the status of the sanctuary be upgraded to Nature Reserve.

Land use:
The sanctuary embraces three villages with a combined population of about 1,000 people. In addition, 17 villages are located on the periphery of the sanctuary. The principal occupations of the inhabitants are agriculture, with rice and other crops being grown. Some 688 households have legal rights to collect timber for house-posts, fuelwood, bamboo, thatching and other forest products, in addition to holding grazing rights for 3,464 cattle. Much of the sanctuary is burnt annually to promote grass growth, and the resumption of fuelwood extraction from the plantations straddling the railway is being considered (FAO, 1982a).

Disturbances and threats:
The sanctuary is quite densely settled and is heavily used for agriculture, grazing and extraction of fuelwood and other forest products. Bullock-cart traffic has led to disturbance to wildlife and also facilitates poaching, although the latter appears to be limited at present (FAO, 1982a).

Economic and social values:
The sanctuary is of considerable value for scientific research, but is not considered to be of sufficent general interest to become a major tourist attraction.

The sanctuary supports the largest population of Thamin Cervus eldi thamin in a protected area in Burma, and the only population which can be regarded as truly viable (Blower, 1983). This subspecies is considered to be virtually extinct outside the country. Recent population censuses indicate that some 2,200 animals live in the sanctuary (FAO, 1985a; Salter & Sayer, 1986), in contrast to earlier estimates of between 50 and 500 individuals (FAO, Burma l983a). The only other Thamin in a protected area are an estimated minimum of 240 animals in Shwesettaw Wildlife Sanctuary, some 450 km to the southwest. Other noteworthy mammals include Panthera pardus, Cuon alpinus (reportedly common), a small number of Banteng Bos javanicus and Cervus porcinus. Cervus unicolor, Muntiacus muntjak, Sus scrofa and a macaque Macaca sp also occur (FAO, 1982a).

The avifauna includes a number of species which are restricted within Burma to the dry zone. Little information is available on the waterfowl. The endangered White-winged Wood-Duck Cairina scutulata, formerly reported present (Tun Yin, 1954), may still occur in the sanctuary, and Ciconia nigra and C. episcopus were recorded in April 1982. Reptiles include the Burmese Python Python molurus bivittatus.

Special floral values:
No information.

Research and facilities:
The area was surveyed in 1982 (FAO, 1982a). A rest house at Kinsan, in the centre of the sanctuary, was destroyed by fire in 1982.

Blower (1983); FAO (1982a, 1983a & 1985a); IUCN (in prep); Karpowicz (1985); Salter (1983); Salter & Sayer (1986); Tun Yin (1954).

Criteria for Inclusion:
1b, 2a.

See references.