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Hotels, resorts threaten rare primates

Update: January, 19/2018 - 09:00
Two red-shanked douc langurs at Sơn Trà Nature Reserve close to Đà Nẵng. — Photo courtesy GreenViet
Viet Nam News

ĐÀ NẴNG — Recent rapid construction of more than 20 hotels and resorts in Sơn Trà Nature Reserve is threatening the survival of highly endangered langurs and other wildlife. Human activities, such as illegal logging and hunting, also continue to badly affect the lives of the primates and wildlife in the reserve.

The 4,400ha Sơn Trà Nature Reserve, known for its rich biodiversity, is home to more than 1,300 red-shanked douc langurs and more than 1,000 plants and 370 animal species.

The langurs were declared endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2013, but this was recently redefined as critically endangered – nearly extinct.

Six of the monkeys were killed by motorcyclists in 2015-17, and two cases of illegal hunting were uncovered. Two red-shanked douc langurs were reportedly killed for eating. And about 10ha of forest have been illegally logged between 2014-16.

Thousands of traps and tonnes of rubbish have also been collected by local rangers and volunteers during the period.

This week, yet another project was launched to help saved the rare primates. Đà Nẵng’s rural authorities announced the start of a reforestation project to create a safe habitat for the Red-shanked douc langur (Pygathryx nemaeus) in the reserve.

The project, being run by the city’s agriculture and rural development department and NGO, GreenViet, will help replant 1.5ha of native trees, including Chò (Parashorea chinensis), banyan (Ficus bengalensis) and Sao đen (Hopea odorata). Total investment will be VNĐ250 million (US$11,000).

The project also involves an education programme to raise awareness of the need to protect biodiversity.

It will lead to 25,000 school students and more than 3,000 local residents being taught the importance of  biological variety on field trips to the Sơn Trà Nature Reserve.

Last year, a business group donated $9,700 to build  canopy gap bridges for the endangered langurs to cross roads safely.

Re-use Everything Institute Inc of Finland agreed to fund $25,000 for biodiversity research in the Sơn Trà reserve to help protect the langurs.

The Frankfurt Zoological Society and the San Diego Zoo have also been co-operating with the city to try and save the primates from their distant relatives. — VNS

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