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Experts: red-shanked douc endangered by Son Tra tourism

Last update: 08:20 | 25/05/2017

VietNamNet Bridge - The tourism boom in Son Tra peninsula may damage the ecological system and threaten the habitat of the red-shanked douc, considered the symbol of Da Nang City, experts say.


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According to Vu Ngoc Thanh, an expert on primates from the Hanoi University of Natural Sciences, and director of the Douc Langur Foundation, Son Tra’s habitat has important significance in protecting the animal. 

It is a transitional site between the sub-tropical flora of northern Hai Van and the tropical flora of southern Hai Van, so the plants the red-shanked douc eat are very diverse.

A team of researchers from the Hanoi University of Natural Sciences, after 10 years of learning about the feeding ecology of the red-shanked douc, have discovered that the douc uses 250 plant parts of 200 plant species in Son Tra.

It is the specific abundance of micronutrients in the local plants which creates the typical color of the douc in Son Tra, which cannot be found in any other localities. 

It is the specific abundance of micronutrients in the local plants which creates the typical color of the douc in Son Tra, which cannot be found in any other localities. 

This is why the local douc is called the "primate queen" and the mascot of not only Son Tra but also Da Nang.

Son Tra is also the only place in the world where scientists and nature lovers can see doucs. It has the largest number of red-shanked douc in Son Tra.

The habitat for the red-shanked douc is being threatened by people’s activities. 

According to Thanh, the food area for red-shanked douc is located at the height of below 200 meters, where many villas, hotels and resorts have arisen. As a result, they will have to flock to the remaining forest areas, where they could be hunted and are susceptible to inbreeding.

“If Da Nang develops mass tourism, the red-shanked douc will soon become distinct. Da Nang will lose a great advantage for sustainable tourism development,” he warned.

The forests in Son Tra have narrowed as large areas have been used for other purposes. 

The Son Tra Natural Reserve now has 2,500 hectares left instead of 4.439 hectares initially. About 30 percent of the total area has been allocated toinvestors to develop resorts, hotels and villas.  

To protect red-shanked doucs and local biodiversity, Thanh has called on local authorities to reconsider the possible impact on the environment that construction works and tourism projects may have. 

He has also called on to strengthen measures to protect the forests and precious langurs. Son Tra is the only sanctuary in Vietnam that anyone can enter freely.


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