Thursday, November 10, 2016

Population of endangered red-shanked doucs found in central Vietnam

A troop of approximately 70 red-shanked doucs, an endangered primate native to Southeast Asia, was discovered on Thursday in a swath of forest north of Hai Van Pass in central Vietnam.

The doucs, nicknamed ‘costumed apes’ for their colorful fur, were found by a group of forest protection officers who encountered over ten individuals from the pack while patrolling near the peak of the pass, about 200 meters from the main road.
The well-behaved monkeys were calm, choosing not to run away at the sight of approaching tourists who took the rare opportunity to appreciate and photograph the endangered animals.
The 20-kilometer long Hai Van Pass crosses Bach Ma Mountain Range, a natural barrier between central Vietnam’s Thua Thien – Hue Province and Da Nang City.
According to Nguyen Ngoc Van, head of Northern Hai Van Pass Forest Protection Management Unit, about 70 red-shanked doucs call roughly 3,300 hectares of forest in the area their home.
The unit has tightened its guard over the area while awaiting reservation plans for the animals from relevant authorities, Van said.
Red-shanked doucs (Pygathrix nemaeus) are listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and can be found in central Vietnam in Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, Son Tra Reservoir, and Bach Ma National Park, according to Tran Van Bang, an expert from the Southern Institute of Ecology.
Sightings of the species on Hai Van Pass were reported as early as 2002, though at the time only through local narratives, Bang said.
Bang asserted that the inauguration of Hai Van Tunnel in 2005 as an alternative to Hai Van Pass might have played a role in the re-appearance of the doucs, thanks to the reduced environmental impact on the surrounding forests that resulted from the reduction of passing vehicles.


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