To rehabilitate and release confiscated langurs in Vietnam
More than half of Vietnam consists of hills and mountains up to 3000 m asl. Originally, nearly the whole country was covered by forests but nowadays, with a human population reaching 80 million people – about 225 people/km² –, only about 10% of the forests are left. This is one of the reasons why wild animals are so endangered.
The primates of Vietnam include about 25 species or subspecies, including slow loris, macaques, langurs and gibbons, of which 10 are endemic to Vietnam. 16 species or subspecies are listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Delacour's langur (Trachypithecus delacouri), golden-headed langur (Trachypithecus geei), Tonkin snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus avunculus) and eastern black-crested gibbon (Nomascus nasutus) are even among the 25 most-threatened primate species worldwide. As a reult of unsustainable resource management, the habitat of many species of primates, particularly endemic ones, continues to decline dramatically. The WAZA In Situ Conservation Workshop, held at Chonburi (Thailand) in 2001, considered the surveillance and protection of primates in Vienam as a top priority.
Cologne Zoo, in cooperation with the Frankfurt Zoological Society, is planing to reintroduce Hatinh langurs (Trachypithecus laotum hathinhensis) and later on red-shanked Douc langurs (Pygathrix nemaeus) bred at the Endangered Primate Rescue Centre (EPRC). It is intended to keep the animals received from the EPRC in a large semi-wild enclosure for a while and eventually to release them into the wild. Therefore, a team of four experts from Germany and Vietnam made a trip to the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park in March 2004 to find a suitable area. Cologne Zoo will sponsor the project manager in the national park. The first step is to build a semi-wild enclosure. This project will be used to get as much information as possible, for example by ethological studies, to be used for the conservation of these species in general. Another high priority is the education of the local people and tourists.This project meanwhile has been completed.
WAZA Conservation Project 04015 is implemented by Cologne Zoo, in cooperation with the Centre for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies of Vietnam National University.
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