|Emeritus Director: |
Professor Cao Van Sung
Institute for Ecology and Biological Resources
National Centre for Natural Sciences and Technology
Tu Liem - Ha Noi, Viet Nam
Vietnam with a total land area of 331,041 sq.km. is situated in South-East Asia. Vietnam previously was almost entirely forested. This provides suitable conditions for a diversity and abundance of primate fauna. However, after a long period of war and uncontrolled forest exploitation, the forest cover has reduced to 40% of its original.
Vietnam has a population of 69,3 millions and annual growth rate of 2,4%. The minority people who live mainly in mountainous zones close to forests exploit forest for basic needs in the form of fuel wood an lumber. Forest is continually subjected to logging, hunting, clearance for agriculture and settlement.
These activities continue degrading forest, and in particular primate resources, which all depend on forest habitat.
This paper presents the status of primate fauna of Vietnam and measures recently taken for conservation of these resources.
Up to now, 14 primate species have been recorded in Vietnam (Table 1). The primate fauna is comprised of four geographical elements. The dominant element is the endemic of Vietnam, 11 species and subspecies (50%). The Indo-Himalayan have 5 species or subspecies (22,7%), Indo-Malayan 4 (18,2%) and the last, the Chinese element with two species (9.1%). The endemic primates of Vietnam are considered the highest possible priority rating in the Action Plan for Asian Primate Conservation. These are Rhinopithecus avunculus, Pygathrix nemaeus, Nycticebus pygmaeus and Hylobates pileatus. Moreover, some species are limited in distribution, such as T.f.poliocephalus in Cat Ba Island, Rhinopithecus avunculus in the Na Hang region, T.f.delacouri in Cuc Phuong National Park, T.f.hatinhensis in Ha Tinh and Quang Binh Provinces, in T.cristatus in Yok Don National Park.
Forest destruction will threaten populations of these species and on their existence. All these data again demonstrate that the forest and habitat loss greatly affect the primate fauna in Vietnam.
Different primate species occur in different forest types: 22 species or subspecies occur in dense evergreen forest; 18 in semi-deciduous forest; 15 in deciduous forest; 11 in rock forest; 8 in secondary forest; 6 in sub-tropical forest; 3 in bamboo forest; 1 in mangrove forest and no species are commonly found in coniferous forest.
Primate fauna also is treated by hunting pressure. In Vietnam, as in all of Asia, primate tissues are used in traditional medicine. Moreover the people in mountainous areas shoot primates for food. Hunting quickly depresses primate populations and can lead to local extinction.
Vietnam has taken some active measure to protect its primates. First, Vietnam has published a Red Data Book, listing 16 species and subspecies, of which of 7 are endangered and 9 vulnerable.
Vietnam has established a system of 87 protected areas, among which 26 areas concern primate resources (Table 2). These protected areas maintain most endemic and threatened primates n Vietnam.
Vietnam has announced laws, regulations and decisions prohibiting hunting and trading of primate species from forests.
The following additional measures should be taken:
- To ensure effective implementation of legal protection for threatened primates, especially Pygathrix nemaeus, Trachypithecus francoisi, Rhinopithecus avunculus and Hylobates concolor;
- To create a special area for Rhinopithecus avunculus;
- To create a Rescue Centre based in Cuc Phuong National Park. The priority of threatened species for this Centre include: P.n.nemaeus, T.f.francoisi, T.f.delacouri, T.f.poliocephalus, R.avunculus, H.c.leucogenys, H.c.siki, H.c.gabriellae. The Centre has successfully rescued T.f.delacouri for captive breeding. In the future this Centre will extend this to such other threatened species as T.f.hatinhensis, P.nemaeus and R.avunculus.
With these measures Vietnam can save the endangered primates by captive breeding as well as in natural situations.
|ch - Chinese|
|e - Endemic|
|hi - Indo-Himalayan|
|m - Indo-Malayan|
|V - Vulnerable|
|E - Endangered|
Table 2. Protected area for primate fauna
|Protected area||Province||Primate Species|
|Ba Be||Bac Thai|| H.c.leucogenys,
|Cat Ba||Hai Phong||T.f.poliocephalus|
|Cuc Phuong||Ninh Binh|| M.arctoides,
|Bach Ma||Quang Nam-Da Nang|| P.n.nemaeus,
|Yok Don||Dak Lak|| T.cristatus,
|Cat Tien||Dong Nai|| M.fascicularis,
|Muong Nhe||Lai Chau|| M.arctoides,
|Xuan Nha||Son La|| M.assamensis,
|Sop Cop||Son La|| M.arctoides,
|Phong Quang||Ha Giang|| M.assamensis,
|Na Hang||Tuyen Quang|| R.avunculus,
|Huu Lien||Lang Son|| H.c.leucogenys,
|Pu Mat||Nghe An|| P.n.nemaeus,
|Vu Quang||Ha Tinh|| T.f.hatinhensis,
|Phong Nha||Quang Binh||T.f.hatinhensis|
|Ba Na Nui Chua||Quang Nam-Da Nang|| P.n.nemaeus,
|Son Tra||Quang Nam-Da Nang|| M.fascicularis,
|Kon Ka Kinh||Gia Lai||H.c.gabriellae|
|Kon Cha Rang||Gia Lai|| H.c.gabriellae,
|Mom Ray||Kon Tum|| T.cristatus,
|Chu Yang Sin||Dak Lak|| P.n.nigripes,
|Xuan Son||Vinh Phu|| M.assamensis,
|Tam Dao||Vinh Phu|| M.assamensis,
|Suoi Trai||Phu Yen||M.fascicularis|
|Bu Gia Map||Song Be|| M.fascicularis,
|Phu Quoc||Kien Giang||H.pileatus|
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