Vietnam: Uncontrolled tourism in Son Tra harms red shanked douc

VietNamNet Bridge 12 Jul 16;

The threat to Son Tra Peninsula and the red shanked douc in Son Tra is uncontrolled tourism development.

Red shanked douc is considered a treasure of Son Tra and symbol of Da Nang City’s biodiversity. Scientists have proposed to add red shanked douc into the list of critically endangered species for stricter protection. (It is now listed in the endangered EN group).

The proposal was made after the scientists realized that the number of red shanked douc is very low. The doucs live in limited areas, including Vietnam, the southern part of Laos and a few live in Cambodia, and are at a high risk of extinction.

Of the habitats, Son Tra Peninsula of Vietnam, where 300 douc individuals live, is believed to be the only place in the world which have favorable conditions to protect the doucs.

Vietnam has patrols and agencies in charge of protecting endangered species, while people don’t have the habit of hunting down and using products from doucs.

“This means that Son Tra keeps the treasure of the whole world, not only of Vietnam,” said Le Thi Trang, deputy director of Green Viet, the biodiversity protection center.

Red shanked douc is called the ‘queen’ of primates because of iridescent plumage and 98 percent of DNA and living behaviors similar to humans.

Besides, the presence of red shanked doucs show that the Son Tra forests are recoverable.

All of these factors show that red shanked douc could present a good image to represent Da Nang’s biodiversity.

When asked about the threats to Son Tra red shanked douc, Trang said douc is not hunted or trafficked in Son Tra and what most threatens them is the uncontrolled development of tourism.

Son Tra receives thousands of travelers every day, who create noise and cause pollution which may affect doucs’ habits.

“Travelers tend to bring food to the mountain and drop litter there. This is believed to be the biggest threat to wild animals. This may even lead to extinction in certain areas,” Trang warned.

More and more infrastructure items have arisen in the peninsula to satisfy the demand of the economic and tourism development.

As a result, the habitat for red shanked doucs will be narrowed. This will force the doucs to adapt to the new circumstances or die. Meanwhile, the doucs don’t have high adaptation capability like monkeys.

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