Viet Nam News
ĐÀ NẴNG — Reuse Everything Institute Inc of Finland has agreed to fund a biodiversity research project in the Sơn Trà Nature Reserve that will contribute to protecting the endangered red-shanked douc langur (Pygathryx nemaeus).
The Đà Nẵng administration said that US$25,000 would be used this year to determine the number of langurs living in the 2,500ha Sơn Trà Nature Reserve as well as an awareness campaign covering 400 students in four Đà Nẵng schools to stress the importance of biodiversity and saving the langurs.
The project will also provide free trips to the reserve for 350 college students and 40 State employees; and fund research on biodiversity and the langur conservation by young scientists.
GreenViet, an NGO that focuses on biodiversity conservation in forests, will implement the project beginning next month.
The Sơn Trà Nature Reserve, 600m above sea level, is known for its rich biodiversity, with 287 species of animals and 985 species of plants.
The reserve is also home to 300 red-shanked douc langurs, which are found only in east-central Laos and Việt Nam. The langurs were declared endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2013.
At a meeting last year, the IUCN agreed to list the red-shanked douc langur as critically endangered (CR) with unlimited protection status in the world.
The red-shanked douc langur was also chosen as the official mascot of Đà Nẵng for the 2017 APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation) Summit. The city has asked its culture department to co-ordinate with relevant agencies and promote the image of the endangered species. The choice of the langur as the mascot communicates the city’s commitment to protecting the environment and building a ‘green city’ by 2025.
The city has also approved a 15-year plan (until 2030) to protect biodiversity in the Sơn Trà Nature Reserve.
GreenViet, one of the most active organisations in Đà Nẵng, has launched series of awareness campaigns over the last few years to protect the red-shanked douc langur.
Sơn Trà Nature reserve is a favourite destination, with 10,000 tourists visiting it every month.
Lê Thị Thu Trang, deputy director of GreenViet, said images of the langurs had been posted on banners at bus stops in the city, raising awareness among the community and the tourists on the need for protecting the species.
However, traps are still found and illegal hunting continues in the reserve. Many restaurants inside the reserve have been used for illegal hunting and wildlife trafficking in the area.
Illegal loggers also destroyed a vast area in this protected nature reserve on the Sơn Trà Peninsula. Two illegal hunting cases were documented in the reserve in 2015, and around 2,000 traps have been dismantled by rangers and volunteers.
In 2016, the city’s forest protection sub-department launched criminal proceedings in a case that involved the killing of three red-shanked doucs in the reserve.
Trang said GreenViet is also co-operating with the Frankfurt Zoological Society of Germany, the San Diego Zoo in the United States and the IUCN to protect the red-shanked douc langur with long-term campaigns.
GreenViet and the Sơn Trà-Ngũ Hành Sơn’s Forest Protection Sub-Department have agreed to step up patrols.
Primate conservationists from GreenViet have also called for strict punishment of illegal hunters and a halt to the issuing of construction licences for more resorts and hotels in the Sơn Trà Nature Reserve. — VNS