Community guards endangered langurs
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