Kien Giang to establish nature reserve

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Vietnam will establish a new nature reserve for the conservation of cranes in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang.

The Phu My Nature reserve was planned as part of the province's conservation project funded by the International Crane Foundation (ICF).

The reserve will comprise 3,270 hectares of Giang Thanh District"”2,800 hectares of which will include fields of Lepironia articulate (a wetland grass) in Phu My Commune.

Le Van Hong, chairman of Kien Giang Province Union of Friendship Organizations, said that ICF's US$500,000 project has saved 1,000 hectares of natural Lepironia articulate fields in Phu My and attracted a number of Sarus Cranes back to their natural habitat.

The large non-migratory wading bird is found in parts of the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and Australia.

The Sarus Crane is the longest of the flying birds and has been considered an iconic species of open wetlands. It is listed as "vulnerable" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

The project began late 2004 and will continue until 2012.

The loss and degradation of wetlands threatens numerous species in Vietnam"”a problem that has been compounded by heavy chick loss caused by the illegal wildlife trade, according to ICF.

Lately, the organization claims that agricultural expansion continues to play an increasingly large role in the problem.

Vietnam currently has 58 nature reserves and eight UNESCO-recognized biosphere reserves.

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