KyaikHtiYoe Natural Reserve
|1||Mon States, KyaikHto Township||60.32 Sq miles.|
Bird watching in Kyaikhtiyo Wildlife Sanctuary
Kyaiktiyo Pagoda/Golden Rock in Mon State is the third most important centre of pilgrimage in Myanmar, after the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon and the Mahamuni Pagoda in Mandalay. It is also a popular tourist attraction. Perched on top of Kyaiktiyo Hill, on a ridge of the Eastern Yoma Mountains, Golden Rock has an elevation of 1,100 metres above sea level and, according to legend, is balanced on a strand of the Buddha’s hair.
Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda is within Kyaikhtiyo Wildlife Sanctuary. Nominally this has an area of 156 km2. However, much of the broadleaf subtropical forest within the sanctuary is disturbed, whilst some has been lost to agriculture, roads, urban development and unproductive wasteland. That said, the area does have some interesting biodiversity including an endemic snake, Python kaiktiyo, which was described in 2011. Relatively few birders visit the area.
With a rapidly expanding number of tourists and pilgrims visiting Kyaikhtiyo, there is an ever increasing pressure on the fauna and flora of the surrounding wildlife sanctuary. Waste management and litter is a particular problem but so too is the increasing traffic, road building and urban expansion.