Rare monkeys left to disappear in central Vietnam

By Dac Thanh   June 23, 2017 | 08:29 pm PT
No efforts have been made to protect the critically endangered doucs in Quang Nam from poaching and deforestation.

People in the central province of Quang Nam fear that a group of rare douc langurs is being slowly wiped out from existence due to a lack of conservation efforts.

Locals said there were around 100 grey-shanked douc langurs (Pygathrix cinerea) in the province, but now only a few dozen can be spotted.

Nguyen Van Cuong, a farmer in the mountainous district of Nui Thanh, said around 10 years ago, many people in the area cleared forest to plant acacia trees for wood, driving the primates away.

Then poaching made it worse for the rare animals, he said.


A gray-shanked douc langur in Quang Nam Province. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thang

“The monkeys used to jump around beautifully in this vast area of jungle. It’s very easy to recognize them as they would be making a lot of noise,” Cuong said of the animals, which he described as gentle.

The grey-shanked species, which has been listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is native to Quang Nam and several other central provinces. Last year the Fauna and Flora International announced a discovery of more than 500 individuals in the region, bringing the group’s population worldwide to around 1,000 members.

Phan Minh Huan, a local officer in charge of forest protection, said his team has reported to the province government about the situation and organized campaigns asking locals not to harm the animals.

He said the poachers are people from outside the province.

Huan said there has not been any official plan to protect the monkeys, and conservation efforts will require money.

Phan Tuan, the province’s chief forest management official, only promised that a study will be conducted and there will be solutions.

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