70 endangered primates swing in to central Vietnam forest

By VnExpress   November 10, 2016 | 04:22 pm GMT+7
70 endangered primates swing in to central Vietnam forest
Red-shanked douc langurs in Son Tra Peninsula in Da Nang. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong

Illegal logging may have destroyed their home 66 kilometers away.

Forestry officers have spotted a troupe of more than 70 endangered red-shanked douc langurs in a protective forest in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue over the past days.

Tran Van Loc, director of the management board of the 10,500-hectare Bac Hai Van forest in Phu Loc District, said it is taking measures to protect the primates and conducting survey for long-term conservation.

The red-shanked douc (Pygathrix nemaeus) is sometimes called the “costumed ape” or the “Queen of primates” for being one of the most colorful of all primates: maroon-red from its knees to its ankles, white forearms, black hands and feet, a golden face with a white ruff, blue eyelids and a white tail.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the species as endangered and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora prohibits its international trade. Vietnam, which is a CITES signatory, also has laws to protect the primate but they have been difficult to enforce.

It’s not clear where the primates came from or if they have any connection to a big group on the Son Tra Peninsula, around 66 kilometers to the southeast in neighboring Da Nang.

Vietnam is home to around 1,000 red-shanked doucs, including 300 in Son Tra.

In March, around 75 red-shanked doucs disappeared from the peninsula after illegal logging destroyed 1,000 square meters of habitat.

City officials only found out after a video was posted on Facebook.

Studies by the GreenViet biodiversity conservation center in Da Nang show that the douc langurs in Son Tra are threatened by poachers, who killed two of them last year, and the construction of roads that separate the primate populations and lead to inbreeding.

When they are forced to travel by land, they can be hit by vehicles and are more likely to be trapped.

Noisy crowds at coffee shops and restaurants on the peninsula also stress the monkeys out and affect their reproduction, it said.

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