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Two provinces protect primates from peril

Update: August, 12/2017 - 09:00
A gray-shanked douc langur (pygathrix cinerea) in central Việt Nam. Quảng Nam Province plans to restore a 80ha forest to protect a herd of 50 gray-shanked douc langurs in Núi Thành District. — Photo Courtesy of GreenViet
Viet Nam News

QUẢNG NAM — The central province of Quảng Nam plans to restore a 80ha forest as habitat for a herd of gray-shanked douc langurs living in Đồng Cổ Village, Tam Mỹ Tây Commune.

Huỳnh Tấn Đức, director of the provincial Agriculture and Rural Development, said the forest area in question had been allocated for acacia – one of the most profitable woods in the central region, but this stole the endangered langurs’ natural habitat.

He said the langurs now live in a 5ha primary forest, and face being hunted by locals as well as poachers.

“We will replant some indigenous species to provide food for the primates. A large area of forest will be restored from the commune to the riverhead of Phú Ninh, Bắc Trà My and Tiên Phước districts in the province,” Đức said, adding that the forest area will help connect with primary forests in neighbouring Quảng Ngãi Province.

“The department will collaborate with local administrations and rangers to hold more patrol and protection of the langurs, and communications for local residents on the importance of the langurs,” he said.

The department will survey the langurs and their habitat in order to create a safe shelter for them in a 4,000ha forest in Tam Trà Commune, Núi Thành District, he added.

Trần Hữu Vỹ, director of the Centre of Biodiversity Conservation, GreenViet, said that the centre will help the province track the langurs and offer more measures to protect the endangered primates.

In a recent report by the province’s Forest Protection Division, a herd of about 50 gray-shanked douc langurs was found living in a 10ha forest in Đồng Cổ Village of Tam Mỹ Tây Commune over the past 10 years.

The department called for support from biologists, international organisations and wildlife protection programmes to share their experience and suggest measures to protect the langurs.

According to experts from the Frankfurt Zoological Society’s Việt Nam Primate Conservation Programme, some 1,000 gray-shanked doucs have been found in forests of five provinces, including Quảng Nam, Quảng Ngãi, Bình Định, Kon Tum and Gia Lai.

Gia Lai’s National Kon Ka Kinh Park has the largest number of langurs in the country.

The gray-shanked douc langur is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list as one of the world’s 25 critically endangered primates.

Plans in Đồng Nai

Similarly, Đồng Nai Province wildlife authorities have drafted plans to protect three troops of endangered black-shanked douc langurs living on Chứa Chan Mountain in Xuân Lộc District.

The sub-department of Forest Ranger will submit them to the province’s People’s Committee for approval.

The project will seek to prevent illegal hunting, raise public awareness of protecting wild animals and set up a buffer area of ​​about 24 hectares where human presence will be restricted.

In June local forest rangers discovered the three troops with many babies and pregnant females in the area, after being informed by residents.

Tôn Hà Quốc Dũng, deputy head of the Forest Protection Department, said the department has worked to strengthen patrolling and control of the area to protect the animals.

The district People’s Committee has ordered greater protection of wildlife, prevention of poaching, and education of the public in wildlife conservation, he said.

Black-shanked douc langurs are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and in Việt Nam’s Red Data Book.

The animal is found in Cambodia and Việt Nam’s provinces of Kontum, Gia Lai, Đắk Lắk, Lâm Đồng, Bình Dương, Bình Phước, Tây Ninh and Đồng Nai.

At 840m above sea level, Chứa Chan Moutain is the second highest peak in the south, and is the home of several rare animals. — VNS

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