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Vietnam province scrambles to save endangered monkey

By Dac Thanh   August 10, 2018 | 12:55 am PT
A central Vietnam province is trying to buy back acacia plantations to save critically endangered douc langurs.

A group of grey-shanked doucs in Nui Thanh District, Quang Nam Province, are on the verge of extinction due to food shortage and habitat loss.

Authorities in the central province are scrambling to expand the habitat of the critically endangered douc langurs in an attempt to save the last members of the rare primates, which are protected by Vietnamese and international laws.

Quang Nam Vice Chairman Le Tri Thanh said local authorities were buying acres of acacia trees from local farmers to revive natural forests.

A grey-shanked douc looks for food on Hon Do Mountain in Quang Nam Province. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh

A grey-shanked douc looks for food on Hon Do Mountain in Quang Nam Province. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh

The langurs are living in a limited natural forest area covering 10 hectares on top of Hon Do Mountain.

The species is in peril because many local residents have cleared forests to plant acacia trees for timber, Thanh said.

Therefore, local authorities are making efforts to revive natural forests to provide the douc langurs somewhere to live and access fresh food sources, he added.

The species are on the verge of extinction due to a lack of food, loss of natural habitat and harsh weather conditions.

In addition, illegal hunting and forest fires are to blame for the disappearance of the primates, a representative of the GreenViet Biodiversity Conservation Center in Da Nang told VnExpress.

Locals said there used to be roughly 100 members of the species in the province, but now only around 20 can be spotted.

The population started shrinking around 10 years ago when the forest was cleared to make way for acacia tree plantations, they said, echoing Vice Chairman Thanh.

Grey-shanked doucs have been listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and are among the 25 most threatened groups of primates in the world.

The animal is native to Quang Nam and several other central provinces. In 2016, the Fauna and Flora International announced a discovery of more than 500 individuals in the region, bringing the group’s global population to around 1,000.

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