When the langurs come back

Wednesday, 2019-12-04 18:13:24
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The langurs in Tuyen Hoa district, Quang Binh province
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NDO - On a karst block close to the residential area of Tuyen Hoa district (Quang Binh province), black langurs with white nape are growing up.

Over nearly seven years, Nguyen Thanh Tu from Thach Hoa commune and members of a volunteer team silently followed the steps of the langurs to protect them from the pursuit of bad guys. Measures to protect the rare and precious langurs are extremely urgent.

Local people voluntarily take care of langurs

Nguyen Thanh Tu, who is also called Tu ‘langur’, said that in early 2012, once he climbed to Hung Su mountain to knockdown and burn miscellaneous trees, he discovered a langur coming towards him. His locality used to be home to langurs that disappeared in the following years. Understanding that the reappearance of langurs was a good sign, Tu silently followed them.

As seeing the newly-appeared langurs in Thiet Son karst mountain in Thach Hoa commune threatened by hunters, he formed a security team to protect the langurs from afar. Especially, many people who were once notorious hunters have become active members of the team without remuneration, following Tu’s advice.

The langurs climbing

After nearly seven years, the number of black langurs with white nape increased from around ten to 150 individuals of the species living in the interconnected karst block in four communes: Thach Hoa, Dong Hoi, Son Hoa and Thuan Hoa. The rapid development of this primate species in Tuyen Hoa district has attracted the attention of both domestic and foreign researchers.

Director of Quang Binh provincial Forest Protection Department, Pham Hong Thai, said that the black langur with white nape (scientific name: Trachypithecus hatinhensis), belongs to the monkey family of primates. It was put into IB group that is extremely rare and dangerous in Vietnam Red Book and World Red Book. The development of rare and valuable langurs beside the residential area in Tuyen Hoa district is very unique. This was thanks to the great contributions made by Nguyen Thanh Tu and his colleagues who are working hard without remuneration to protect the peace for the langurs.

However, Director Thai worried about the great challenges that the langurs in Tuyen Hoa district are facing, including those related to living areas, food sources and direct impacts such as hunting, invasive livelihoods, rock and firewood exploitation. The above pressure will easily cause the high risk of reduction of species.

Measures to protect rare primates

Tu ‘langur’ said: “Although we put regulation boards and signs banning hunting in the karst area where the langurs are living, local people are free to enter here for their living. Therefore, we could not control their behaviours”.

In late November, the People's Committee of Tuyen Hoa district, in collaboration with the Quang Binh provincial Forest Protection Department and the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Development (under Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations), held a consultation workshop on measures to manage and conserve the black langurs with white napes in Tuyen Hoa district.

According to the survey report, nearly 150 individuals of langurs are scattered in six karst karst blocks with total area of 509 hectares. They are protected effectively by a group of local people. The legal role of the protectors have not been recognised because the State has not allocated land and forest for them. Therefore, it is very difficult for them to prevent illegal huntin of langurs.

At the end of December 2018, Quang Binh provincial People’s Committee issued a decision on planning three types of forests. Accordingly, 509 hectares of forests on the karst karst blocks in Tuyen Hoa district, where langurs are living, were converted into special-use forests to create a safe living environment for this precious species of primates. In addition, the relevant agencies and organisations held activities supporting the conservation of the langurs, including surveying the needs of conservation of the community, enhancing the communications to raise public awareness.

At the recent consultation workshop, managers and scientists discussed the mechanisms, policies and laws related to the widlife conservation and management of special-use forests as well as gave ideas on measures to manage and conserve the rare langurs in Tuyen Hoa district.

Nguyen Thanh Tu (right) and his colleagues

The delegates agreed the measure of pilot allocation of forests to the community in association with land allocation and establishment of an inter-communal community forest management board under the direct guidance of the district’s People’s Committe, so that local people will have legal basis for protecting forests and conserving the black langurs with white napes. The local authorities and relevant units will organise training courses on conservation to improve the locals’ capacity for protecting forests and the langurs as well as help the community forest management board implement activities for the groups of forest protection, while developing a sustainable development plan based on ecotourism development associated with species-habitat conservation.

According to Vice Chairman of Tuyen Hoa district People’s Committee Cao Xuan Tin, the socialisation for the protection of forests, the black langurs with white napes and biodiversity through piloting community forest allocation will biodiversity through piloting community forest allocation will enhance the role and responsibility of the authorities and the community. Accordingly, the deforestation and illegal hunting of wild animals will be prevented.

Tu ‘langur’ said that the planning of special-use forests on karst mountains in Tuyen Hoa district where many species of plants and animals are living has brought both economic and scientifc values. Notably, through the planning, the rare and precious species of langurs will be protected and conserved, contributing to the scientific research and socio-economic development in the future as well as preserving the habitat and genetic resources of precious animals for future generations.

The langurs living close to the residential area in Tuyen Hoa district.