Vietnam reserve trees felled, rare primates lose habitat

By Hoang Son, Thanh Nien News

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A red-shanked douc langur shown in a file photo taken at Son Tra peninsula in the central city of Da Nang. Photo: Hoang Son A red-shanked douc langur shown in a file photo taken at Son Tra peninsula in the central city of Da Nang. Photo: Hoang Son

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Around 75 endangered red-shanked doucs have lost their home in what used to be a prime primate habitat in Da Nang after trees were cut down in the area.
City officials are investigating the illegal logging in the buffer zone of Son Tra peninsula, home to a major primate reserve in Vietnam, after some people posted a video on Facebook.
Preliminary investigations found that the logging has been going on for a month and trees were felled over an area of 1,000 square meters.
The 75 langurs that once lived in the zone are unaccounted for.
Tran Huu Vy, director of the GreenViet biodiversity conservation center in Da Nang, said the buffer zone was an ideal home for the langurs thanks to plentiful food supply and the location, which is shielded from strong winds.
Vy said the 75 missing langurs are nearly a third of the douc population on the 60-square-kilometer peninsula, which is just 10 kilometers from downtown Da Nang.
“We have not located them yet,” Vy said.
He said humans have been encroaching on the forest area in Son Tra, and this is bound to affect the precious douc population.
The primate reserve on the peninsula has shrunk from its original area of more than 4,400 hectares to less than 2,600 hectares over the past decade.
Studies by GreenViet show that the douc langurs in Son Tra are threatened not only by poachers, who killed two of them last year, but also by construction of roads.
Vy said the roads would separate the primate populations and lead to inbreeding.
The animals also face the risk of becoming road kill, he said.
Just last month a car hit a monkey when it was crossing the road.
Besides, when they are forced to travel on the ground, they are more likely to be trapped, he added.
It is also known that noisy crowds at coffee shops and restaurants on the peninsula stress the monkeys out and affect their reproduction.

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