Com­mu­nity guards en­dan­gered lan­gurs

Viet Nam News - - HOME TURF -

The com­mu­nity in Tam Myõ Taây Com­mune in Quaûng Nam Prov­ince have all chipped

in to pro­tect a troupe of gray-shanked douc lan­gurs (py­gath­rix cinerea) af­ter the pri­mates set­tled in safe log farms in 1997. Over 200 vil­lagers have vol­un­teered to

keep a close eye on the 50 an­i­mals. Coâng Thaønh re­ports.

Afarm­ing com­mu­nity in the cen­tral prov­ince of Quaûng Nam has been vol­un­teer­ing to pro­tect a crit­i­cally- en­dan­gered troupe of grayshanked douc lan­gurs ( py­gath­rix cinerea) that have made the area their home.

The troupe, with an es­ti­mated 50 in­di­vid­u­als, has been liv­ing peace­fully in a 5ha area of for­est in Tam Myõ Taây Com­mune, where vil­lagers pro­tect them from poach­ers.

"I saw them (lan­gurs) the first time when I was on the way to find fire­wood in the for­est. I knew they were mon­keys, but didn't re­al­ize they were en­dan­gered lan­gurs. They lived high in the trees, and we could only get within 30m," Nguyeãn Dö, 38, said.

"More than 200 vil­lagers have agreed to pro­tect the lan­gurs by as­sign­ing members of fam­i­lies to pa­trol day and night," he said.

"The guards pa­trol a log­ging fa­cil­ity and keep a close eye on the lan­gurs," he ex­plained.

Dö said the guards did not re­ceive pay­ment for pro­tect­ing the lan­gurs.

Löông Thanh Vaân, an­other lo­cal, said: "The vil­lage has peace­fully shel­tered by Doà Moun­tain for gen­er­a­tions, and we think of the moun­tain and for­est as the Gods of the vil­lage as well as the lan­gurs."

"The pri­mates and wildlife are hunted for lux­ury meals or bones used for medicine. Hunt­ing is banned in the com­mu­nity, but poach­ers from neigh­bour­ing vil­lages still came to hunt them," Vaân said.

Voõ Ngoïc Danh, 59, was happy to be given the op­por­tu­nity to pro­tect the lan­gurs, even though he was busy on his farm.

"I meet them ( the lan­gurs) ev­ery morn­ing on the farm. The lan­gurs seem to recog­nise us now and have been liv­ing with the com­mu­nity for decades," he said.

"Vil­lagers treat them as good friends from the jun­gle," he said.

Phan Minh Huaán, head

Nuùi Thaønh Dis­trict's

of he added.

Huaán said the prov­ince planned to turn the Hoá Giang Thôm hot springs into an eco- tourism re­sort, and the con­ser­va­tion of the en­dan­gered lan­gurs would help pro­mote tourism and change the com­mu­nity's liveli­hood from forestry to tourism ser­vices.

Vice chair­man of Nuùi Thaønh Dis­trict Peo­ple's Com­mit­tee Nguyeãn Vaên Thònh said the prov­ince had ex­tended a strict pro­tected area for the lan­gurs.

Thònh said the con­ser­va­tion of the en­dan­gered lan­gurs aimed to limit the dam­age caused by hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties and re­store the nat­u­ral habi­tat for the pri­mates.

He said the lan­gurs would lure bi­ol­o­gists to the area, and pro­mote sus­tain­able eco- tourism ser­vices in the poverty- stricken re­gion.

The prov­ince planned to al­lo­cate funds for the vol­un­teers and rangers to help them pro­tect the lan­gurs, Thònh added.

Ac­cord­ing to Traàn Höõu Vyõ, direc­tor of the Cen­tre of Bio­di­ver­sity Con­ser­va­tion, the lan­gurs need spe­cial pro­tec­tion as rapid log­ging had dam­aged their habi­tat.

Vyõ said the cen­tre, in co­op­er­a­tion with the prov­ince, had been do­ing a bio­di­ver­sity as­sess­ment of the lan­gur habi­tat be­fore launch­ing a master plan on the con­ser­va­tion of the lan­gurs and other fauna and flora species in the area.

Ex­perts from the Frank­furt Zo­o­log­i­cal So­ci­ety's Vieät Nam Pri­mate Con­ser­va­tion Pro­gramme said around 1,000 grayshanked doucs were liv­ing in forests in the prov­inces of Quaûng Nam, Quaûng Ngaõi, Bình Ñònh, Kon Tum and Gia Lai.

Ex­pert Haø Thaêng Long, head of the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fice of the Frank­furt Zo­o­log­i­cal So­ci­ety in Vieät Nam, said the gray-shanked douc lan­gur, which can only be found in Vieät Nam, is listed on the In­ter­na­tional Union for Con­ser­va­tion of Na­ture (IUNC) Red List as one of the world's 25 Crit­i­cally En­dan­gered pri­mates. VNS

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