Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) said in a November 20th statement it is unrealistic for Burma to attend the summit and talk of its plans to protect tigers, because in 2006 the Yuzana Company, chaired by U Htay Myint, a close associate of the Burmese junta leaders, confiscated 200,000 acres in the Hugawng Valley, including land from the Tiger Reserve, to develop sugar cane and tapioca plantations.
KDNG spokesperson Ah Nan told Kachin News Group (KNG), “The plan set up by Burma in 2010 for doubling the population of tigers after twelve years it’s only a lips service. In reality they (the authorities) are destroying the tiger reserve.”
She asked, “If there is no forest and water, how is it possible for a wild animal to survive?”
The numbers of tigers in Asia has decreased from 100,000 a hundred years ago to 3,200 at present.
Delegates from thirteen countries, including Burma, are discussing how to protect and increase the tiger population in the world for the first time at the summit hosted by Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin.
The group plans to double the number of wild tigers by 2022.
A report released by KDNG in August this year tells how bulldozers and backhoes were clearing forests and destroying animal corridors, leaving only the conservation signboards standing, according to Ah Nan.
“We call on all Summit attendees to challenge the Burma delegation to stop corporate destruction of this important reserve before considering any further tiger conservation programming,” said KDNG.
“The destruction in Hugawng makes a mockery of the Burma Tiger Plan,” Ah Nan said in the Nov. 20 statement. “Yuzana is doing whatever it likes with the aid of the generals and the silence of conservationists. If it is not stopped, the entire reserve is under threat.”
She said encouraging the participation of the local people is important for developing an effective conservation program.
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Lao, China, Russia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Nepal are attending the summit in St. Petersburg.