Langurs conservation group film wins international forest film award

By VNA   July 12, 2023 | 11:20 pm PT
Langurs conservation group film wins international forest film award
Volunteers join a patrol to protect the gray-shanked douc langur living in Nui Thanh District of Quang Nam Province in central Vietnam. Photo by VNA
A Vietnam-based film about a group of friends gathering to protect the grey-shanked douc langur has won the runner-up prize in the Documentary Shorts Category of the Film for the Forest 2023 award, WWF-Vietnam said.

The film, a co-production of WWF-Vietnam and Melt Films, was made to honor a volunteer conservation group that inspired their community to protect the last remaining members of this langur species in Nui Thanh District in the central province of Quang Nam.

"Langurs in the Tam My Tay community were once abundant," said Nguyen Dinh Phuoc, leading the Change Project, under WWF-Vietnam.

"But their population was down to about 50 by 2018, clinging on to four small islands of natural forest. Habitat loss, hunting and climate change are the main threats. This film shows the power of dedicated and passionate people working together."

The film, "Tam My Tay", features a group of friends creating a community patrol to protect the grey-shanked dour langur. As plantations divide langur habitats across central Vietnam, a forest smallholder realizes the pressures faced by these langurs and seeks help from his community with the support of WWF-Vietnam and the Center of Biodiversity Conservation.

"We all have a stake in the grey-shanked douc langur's future. It is an example of the need to find balance with nature and prioritize co-existence. The village of Tam My Tay has developed a tight bond with the langurs and – maybe because of that – with each other. I hope their story inspires other communities to follow their lead and to realize the power they hold to change things," said James Thomson, the director of Tam My Tay.

Launched in 2010 by the Rainforest Partnership, Films for the Forest is an annual short film collection and a platform for filmmakers around the world to share stories of forests worldwide. Highlighting their beauty and rich biodiversity, the threats they face and renewal opportunities for forests, the theme for 2023 is "Living Forests, Thriving Future."

Eighty-three films from filmmakers in 26 countries submitted entries in five categories of short films and Tam My Tay is among 10 selected. These winning films will be presented at Films for the Forest screenings and by the Rainforest Partnership. Tam My Tay has already been selected to be screened at an environmental film festival, IFF Ekotopfilm-Envirofilm 2023 in Slovakia in September 2023.

The WWF-Vietnam and GreenViet have been working together on a project to protect the grey-shanked douc langurs in the province’s Nui Thanh District since 2020.

The year-long project helped improve forest patrol skills to protect a herd of grey-shanked douc langurs in Tam My Tay Commune.

A fire-free zone was set up on a 70-ha log farm – a safe habitat for the animals.

The Quang Nam Provincial People’s Committee had been seeking a fund of US$4.4 million to restore a 100 ha area as a safe habitat for the animals.

According to a report by the provincial Forest Protection Division, a herd of about 50 gray-shanked douc langurs was found living in the area in 1997.

The local community and district rangers established a voluntary team to protect the endangered primates from being hunted.

According to Dr. Ha Thang Long, head of the Frankfurt Zoological Society, some 1,000 gray-shanked doucs have been found in forests of five provinces Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Kon Tum and Gia Lai.

The gray-shanked douc langur is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list as one of the world’s 25 critically endangered primates.

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