Vietnam: Rare doucs in Son Tra need preserving

VietNamNet Bridge 22 Dec 17;

Scientists have called on re-programming the development of the Son Tra peninsula to protect doucs, a rare primate.

Green Viet, a biodiversity conservation center, said there are more than 1,300 doucs in Son Tra. However, Tran Viet Phuong, head of the Da Nang Forest Rangers’ Unit, said the figure is ‘unconvincing’.

“The previous research found that there were 300-700 doucs, while Green Viet’s survey found 1,300. The number of doucs cannot increase so rapidly,” Phuong said.

He said the Da Nang Forest Rangers’ Unit would make a proposal to carry out further research on biodiversity in Son Tra peninsula, under which scientists would survey the number of red shanked doucs and their characteristics and habits.

Replying to doubts about the number of doucs in Son Tra, Tran Huu Vy, director of Green Viet, said there was no basis to say if the number of doucs in Son Tra had decreased or increased.

He said the surveys in the past were carried out in just some areas of the peninsula and they each had different figures.

Vy affirmed that Green Viet’s figure is more reliable as its scientists surveyed nearly all areas in Son Tra.

According to Vy, the survey method applied by Green Viet is an advanced, accurate method applied by many primate research organizations.

The research team carried out a survey in many areas at the same time over a total length of 139 kilometers at 150 points on Son Tra peninsula. Scientists found 1,335 doucs, belonging to 237 groups.

He said the results of the survey show that efforts to protect doucs in Son Tra have brought results. This also means that Vietnam still has opportunities to preserve the primate.

“The locality’s development plan should be adjusted. Son Tra must not turn into an accommodation and resort center,” he said.

Vu Ngoc Thanh from the Hanoi University of Natural Sciences said there was no need to carry out a survey again to find the exact number of doucs.

“It doesn’t matter how many red shanked doucs there are in Son Tra. What we need to focus now on is preserving the precious primate if their habitat is affected by resort projects,” Thanh said.

“Some analysts say villas and resorts in the areas 200 meters above sea water would not affect biodiversity and the doucs. However, this is precisely the area with the richest biodiversity. This is also the area where doucs look for food,” Thanh said.