Eco-friendly stoves to protect world’s rarest ape in Vietnam

By VnExpress   September 16, 2016 | 02:21 pm GMT+7
Eco-friendly stoves to protect world’s rarest ape in Vietnam
A family in Cao Bang Province uses a fuel-efficient stove provided by Fauna & Flora International. Photo by Nguyen Duc Tho/FFI

If people don't stop chopping down trees for firewood, the eastern black crested gibbon will disappear off the face of the planet.

The UK-based Fauna & Flora International (FFI) has introduced a new stove that uses less charcoal or wood than conventional stoves in an attempt to preserve the habitat of rare primates in Vietnam’s northern highlands.

FFI Vietnam recently presented 151 of the stoves to families in Trung Khanh District in Cao Bang Province, home to the world’s rarest primate, the cao vit gibbon (Nomascus nasutus), also known as the eastern black crested gibbon.

The stoves are made from steel, clay or a combination of both, and cost between US$10-15, half of which is covered by FFI Vietnam.

Nguyen Duc Tho, communications and education officer at FFI Vietnam, said this was the second time the stoves have been made available in the country following a batch of 500 in 2006.

Tho said the new ones have been redesigned to be smaller, more portable and user-friendly.

He said local women used to spend 22 days a month gathering wood in the forest just to cook food for their families, but with the new stoves they will only need to spend eight days a month collecting wood.

Ben Rawson, Country Director of FFI Vietnam, said the stoves are an attempt to conserve local wildlife, particularly the cao vit gibbon, and their habitat.

“They reduce the impact on the forests where these gibbons live, giving them a better chance for survival. The local community benefit as well, as it saves them time and reduces the amount of fuel wood they need. It’s a win-win initiative,” Rawson said.

The FFI was founded in 1903 and is now operating in more than 50 countries as the world’s longest established international conservation body.

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