Pyay Kyaw
[gallery type="square" ids="111049,111050,111051,111052,111053,111054,111055,111056,111057,111058,111059,111060,111061,111062,111063,111064"] MEIN-MA-HLA ISLAND, Irrawaddy Division — Perched on the outermost tip of Bogale Township in Burma’s Irrawaddy Division, where the Irrawaddy Delta’s rivers meet the Andaman Sea, Mein-Ma-Hla Island is the biggest mangrove forest reserve in the country—and currently home to more than 200 endangered saltwater crocodiles. Designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1994, the 52.78-square-mile island was also declared an Asean Heritage Park in 2003 due to its diverse flora and fauna. This includes 14 land animal, 148 bird and 72 aquatic species, alongside 53 herbal and seven orchid species. Life around the island remains largely untouched by the changes that have gripped many other parts of Burma in recent years. Boats are the only means of transportation and most locals depend on fishing for their livelihood. Saltwater crocodiles can be spotted around the island during the months of May, June and July—their mating season. Wandering through the fishing villages, the crocodiles have been known to seize cattle—and sometimes humans, so people say.

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