Vietnam’s Khe Nouc Trong forests have been designated nature reserve status, the country’s highest standard of protection, in a move that will protect 40 globally threatened species.
In August, the Vietnamese government agreed to formally protect Khe Nuoc Trong’s 22,132-hectare tract of Annamite lowland evergreen forests as a Nature Reserve.
The move delivers a safer home for 40 globally threatened species, brought to brink of extinction by loggers and poachers. This includes singing gibbons, the spectacular peacock-like crested argus birds and the critically endangered saola antelope. Discovered only in 1992, the saola is one of the world’s rarest mammals, earning it the nickname of the Asian Unicorn.
Over the past five years, conservation organisation Viet Nature, and its partners World Land Trust, IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands (IUCN NL), Birdlife International and the University of Leeds have been working to protect the Khe Nuoc Trong forests – the last substantial area of lowland forest in Vietnam.
Viet Nature President and Co-founder Pham Tuan Anh said: “The watershed protection status already protected the trees from logging but didn’t have any mandates for wildlife conservation.
“The new status puts biodiversity protection as a key objective – the level that its outstanding biodiversity deserves. It is an inspiring achievement after more than a decade of hard work. We will now be able to access higher level of funds for conservation from local as well as national governments.”
Khe Nuoc Trong could prove key to the fate of other species facing extinction in the area, including a critically endangered deer species – the large-antlered muntjac – discovered in 1994, and Edward’s pheasant, a bird only found in Vietnam’s rainforests that has not been seen in the wild for decades, which may be reintroduced in the nature reserve in the future.
Image Credit: Dominick Spracklen/University of Leeds
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.