Vietnam survey team finds rare primate
During a recent survey to prepare for the establishment of Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve in Vietnam's Quang Tri province, a team from the BirdLife in Indochina Programme and the local forest department proved how important this kind of work can be for all types of biodiversity – when they discovered a new population of globally threatened primate.
Twelve Hatinh Langurs Trachypithecus francoisi hatinhensis were discovered living on a limestone cliff in the survey area. The local Van Kieu minority people call the species 'Con Cung', which roughly translates as "black, cliff-dwelling monkey with a long tail".
The actual number of Hatinh Langurs present in the area is thought to be considerably higher than twelve, as inclement weather and a lack of time prevented more intensive searching.
Hatinh Langur is endemic to Vietnam and qualifies as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. This is the first time that it has been seen in Quang Tri province. Previously it was known from only two locations, Phong Nha-Ke Bang and Kim Lu limestone forest in Quang Binh province. (Despite its name, the species has never been confirmed to occur in Ha Tinh province.)
"The proposed nature reserve will soon be officially established in Quang Tri province." —Le Trong Trai, BirdLife in Indochina
The proposed Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve covers 35,000 ha. Around 1,500 ha of this is limestone forest habitat in which the langur has been found. Many other important species can be found in the area including the globally threatened Edwards's Pheasant Lophura edwardsi (Endangered) and the near threatened Crested Argus Rheinardia ocellata, Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis and Tickell's Brown Hornbill Anorrhinus tickelli.
"The proposed nature reserve will soon be officially established in Quang Tri province. This results from great efforts of Quang Tri Provincial People’s Committee, Quang Tri Provincial Department of Forest Protection and BirdLife International over the last few years. However, on the way ahead, there will be a lot of work to do if we are to preserve the biodiversity values granted by nature and contribute to the development of the local economy," said Mr Le Trong Trai, Project Coordinator at the BirdLife in Indochina Programme.
This survey work is one of the activities of a project titled Conservation of Important Bird Areas in Indochina: strengthening site support groups to conserve critical biodiversity (2003-2006), supported by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation