Holy moley! Survey team finds new mammal
A field expedition to survey and assess the biodiversity status of Chu Yang Sin National Park in the Central Highlands of Vietnam was carried out in March by a joint team including staff from BirdLife’s Vietnam Programme.
Among the many interesting animal and plant species recorded was a mole (Talpidae sp.) that is believed to be new to science. Six of the ten bird species that originally qualified Chu Yang Sin as an Important Bird Area (IBA) were also found during the survey. These were: Collared Laughingthrush Garrulax yersini (Endangered); Black-hooded Laughingthrush Garrulax milleti (Near Threatened); Grey-crowned Crocias Crocias langbianis (Endangered); Short-tailed Scimitar-babbler Jabouilleia danjoui (Near Threatened); Germain's Peacock-pheasant Polyplectron germaini (Near Threatened); and Crested Argus Rheinardia ocellata (Near Threatened).
Despite its wealth of biodiversity, the park is under severe human pressure, most seriously from hunting and trapping activities by the H’Mong people who spontaneously migrated to this area from mountainous provinces in northern Vietnam.
The survey was a part of a Global Environment Fund/World Bank project that will be used to set up a biodiversity monitoring programme and management plan for the park. Park staff were trained in survey and assessment techniques for the first time and also learned to identify many of the area’s rare and endemic species.
"During April and May 2006, this team is undertaking an additional biodiversity survey in the park, focusing on fish and butterflies. As this is the first time that both taxonomical groups have been studied in Chu Yang Sin, we hope that many new discoveries for science will be made," said Mr Le Trong Trai, BirdLife’s Conservation Planner for the project.