Viet Nam News
ĐÀ NẴNG — Đặng Vũ Minh,15, and Đào Nhật Minh, two secondary school students in Hà Nội, have won a gold medal for their research on the red-shanked douc langur (Pygathryx nemaeus).
The two teenagers were one of three Vietnamese student groups participating in the Global Natural History Day in Shanghai, China, for the first time.
“It’s the first time that we participated in an international event, and we had little time to prepare. We researched about the primate on the Internet and in books with the support of the Centre of Education and Development,” Đặng Vũ Minh replied via an e-mail interview.
“We had a week-long field trip to the forests of the Sơn Trà peninsula under the guidance provided by the Biodiversity Conservation Centre, GreenViet, an NGO in Đà Nẵng, during our research of the langur,” Minh said.
Minh said the two students focused on two sections, illegal logging in a 10ha area in Sơn Trà forest and its impact on red-shanked douc langur flocks, and how students could protect the langur.
Minh said he went on a field trip to Sơn Trà forest to observe the critically endangered animal through binoculars and at close range.
The two students had three weeks to complete their data collection, oral presentations and exhibition.
At the contest held from July 21 to 29 in Shanghai, the presentation of the two Vietnamese students persuaded the jury to present them the gold medal, the first-ever prize for Vietnamese students at the event in which 90 teams from 10 countries participated.
Đào Nhật Minh said they had to answer several questions from the jury and foreigners on the primate in Việt Nam.
Minh said the jury even called them ‘primate guys’.
The Hanoian student was worried that the primate in Sơn Trà forest would become extinct if illegal logging, hunting and excessive urbanisation continued to take place.
GNHD is an international education programme designed to inspire elementary and middle school students’ interest in natural science and history. It was launched in 2012 and more than 7,100 students have joined GNHD since then.
This year was the first time that three teams from Việt Nam were sent to compete at the event.
The Sơn Trà Nature Reserve, which originally covers more than 4,400ha, is home to more than 300 red-shanked douc langurs, which are found only in Việt Nam and Laos.
More than 100 secondary and high school students in Sơn Trà District were trained on the importance of primate conservation and environment protection communication programme by GreenViet.
Students in Sơn Trà also went on free tours to see the langurs and the forests at the reserve as well as to participate in a cleaning campaign in Sơn Trà forests.
The central city will promote the red-shanked douc langur as a new mascot at the 2017 APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation) Summit, to be hosted by Đà Nẵng next November. — VNS