With support from the Wellington Zoo Conservation Fund, The Nest Te Kōhanga’s Practice Manager, Amanda Tiffin is in Vietnam for just over two weeks to work with Fauna & Flora International. While Amanda is over in Vietnam, she will be getting a better understanding of the threats that Vietnam native wildlife face, and how we can contribute to ensuring a safe habitat for all animals living in Pu Mat National Park.
Today I had the amazing privilege of seeing a group of Delacour Langurs in the wild in Van Long Nature Reserve, Vietnam.
The Delacour Langur is one of the most critically endangered primates in the world, with an estimated population of 250 individuals left in the wild and they are endemic to Vietnam. They're restricted now to the limestone mountains and are strictly leaf eaters. Together with my colleagues from Perth Zoo and some local experts, we watched the Langurs eat their fresh leafy breakfast by their night cave, as we sat in small paddle boats in the surrounding water.
We were incredibly lucky to see them 'monkeying about', engaging in grooming behaviour, play, foraging, and jumping around in the trees. These beautiful Langurs are specialist leaf eaters and require the native bush of Vietnam to select their diet from. Sadly these Langurs are now restricted to a small area due to deforestation and other human pressures. I couldn't stop watching these beautiful animals enjoying what is left of their native space.
Wellington Zoo, Perth Zoo, and Taronga Zoo have joined forces with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) who have a strong presence here in the Vietnamese conservation space. This collaborative Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) initiative has been running since 2015 to support the conservation of the Northern White Cheeked Gibbon. FFI work with local groups to ensure there is preservation of habitat for all species living within this area. We have partnered with FFI to help in the preservation of the Pu Mat National Park in an effort to help save the critically endangered Northern White Cheeked Gibbon from declining further. This species is native to Vietnam, and the next step in our journey is to head to Pu Mat National Park to look at the protection systems that are in place for full forest preservation.
Seeing the Delacour Langurs in the wild has reminded me of the important things we can all do in our lives to care for native animals in our own country and also around the world. Selecting FSC sustainable wood and paper products can make a huge difference to countries like Vietnam, where rainforest wood is sometimes cut down for simple things like toilet paper, or school books. Ensuring our household products come from sustainable sources can directly help animals like the White Cheeked Gibbons, and Delacour Langurs by reducing the demand for their forest habitat.
I am very grateful to the Wellington Zoo Conservation Fund for supporting this trip to Vietnam, and facilitating the partnership with FFI.
I'm excited for the next few days and the possibility of seeing (or hearing!) a White Cheeked Gibbon in the wild!