Myanmar's Conservation Colossus – Aung Myo Chit
Aung Myo Chit is the authority on wild elephants in Myanmar and one of Southeast Asia’s most pre-eminent ecologists. In the 1990s he began guiding foreign field naturalists and acting as a consultant on multi-year film projects focused on the ecology of Myanmar, eventually serving as the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Country Coordinator for the Irrawaddy dolphin from 2006-2012. Aung has also worked as Myanmar’s Country Coordinator for the Smithsonian Institution, heading up a project focused on the movement of Asian elephants within Myanmar. Thanks to the success of this project, the Smithsonian are now continuing their work in Myanmar, assisting with the rewilding of captive elephants and improving the health of both captive and domesticated elephants.
Aung also works with the non-profit organisation Grow Back for Prosperity (GBP). GBP’s mission is to collaborate with local communities, government, national and international CSOs, and other stakeholders in order to protect Myanmar's natural and cultural heritage. Aung and the rest of the team at GBP believe in community-based solutions for wildlife conservation. They work with the people of Myanmar to foster peace between people and elephants, speak with local fisherman to assess the population of the Irrawaddy dolphin, and develop culturally sensitive ecotourism projects in Nagaland, among other projects.
In early 2019 our Head of PR & Partnerships, Carina Hibbitt, visited Myanmar to meet with Aung, as well as fellow conservationist Jon Miceler and members of the KnoWhere Journeys Myanmar team. Together with NWS, these forward-thinking individuals are pioneering a low-volume, high-impact tourism concept, bringing communities, conservationists and scientists together for the benefit of Myanmar’s natural treasures. For an in-depth account of the latest elephant and dolphin ecotourism project taking place in Myanmar, you can read Carina’s blog entitled ‘Treading the Earth Lightly’.