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WWF-Vietnam, GreenViet work to protect endangered primates

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Vietnam and the Centre of Biodiversity Conservation, GreenViet, will work together on a project to protect the gray-shanked douc langurs incentral Quang Nam province’s Nui Thanh district in 2020.

Director of GreenViet Tran Huu Vy, said the one-year project would help improve forest patrol skills to protect a herd of gray-shanked douc langurs (pygathrix cinerea) – a critically endangered species – living in Dong Co village of Tam My Tay commune.

The project, with funding of 350 million VND (15,000 USD) from WWF-Vietnam, will help provide knowledge and skills for a team of 10 volunteers from the village.

“It is a significant effort made by the community to protect the endangered primates. They (local villagers) patrolled the 30ha primary forest area – where the primates live – following irregular visits at nearby log farms,” Vy said.

“We provided equipment, the Spatial Monitoring Reporting Tool (SMART) for conservation and protection of wildlife, data recording during jungle trips over a total of 150ha of protective zone,” he said.

He added the project would include improving awareness among the community and illegal hunters on wildlife and protection of biodiversity.

A fire-free zone was set up on a 70ha log farm – a safe habitat for the gray-shanked douc langurs, he added.

Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Tri Thanh said the province had been seeking a fund of 4.4 million USD to restore a 100ha area as a safe habitat for the gray-shanked douc langurs.

Currently, the herd of the langurs has gathered in a 10ha-area of primary forest due to the development of acacia log farms.

According to a report by the provincial Forest Protection Division, a herd of about 50 gray-shanked douc langurs was found living in the area in 1997.

The local community and district rangers established a voluntary team to protect the endangered primates from being hunted.

According to Dr. Ha Thang Long, head of the Frankfurt Zoological Society, some 1,000 gray-shanked doucs have been found in forests of five provinces, including Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Kon Tum and Gia Lai.

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.