“Treasure” of biodiversity discovered in Kon Plong district

Recent biodiversity surveys have revealed a "treasure" of rare and endangered wildlife including the gray-shanked douc langur, yellow-cheeked crested gibbon, owston's palm civet, horse bear, slow loris, otter, wild cats and many other species of Vietnam, in Kon Plong district, the Central Highland province of Kon Tum.

Gray-shanked douc langur in Kon Plong forest (Photo: Trinh Dinh Hoang – FFI)
Gray-shanked douc langur in Kon Plong forest (Photo: Trinh Dinh Hoang – FFI)

With its high biodiversity level, Kon Plong deserves to be considered as one of Vietnam's most valuable conservation forests.

After many months of field surveys in Kon Plong forest – a remote area of the Central Highland region, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and GreenViet Centre have found a number of endangered animals.

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Slow loris in Kon Plong (Photo: Oliver – FFI)

Since 2016, the FFI’s systematic surveys have identified a population of about 500 gray-shanked douc langurs in Kon Plong and over 100 species of the central region’s yellow-cheeked crested gibbon.

These species are threatened with extinction. The gray-shanked douc was listed among critically endangered ones in the red list of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

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An image of a horse bear captured by a camera trap in Kon Plong (Photo: FFI)

In addition, the surveys using camera traps have recorded images of 121 species of mammals and birds, including many endangered and endemic ones.

The owston's palm civet species, which was classified as endangered in IUCN’s red list, has been discovered surprisingly in many places in Kon Plong.

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Ngoc Linh laughing thrush (Photo: FFI)

Despite its high biodiversity value, Kon Plong forest is facing many threats such as illegal hunting, logging, deforestation and a fragmented habitat due to the expansion of agricultural cultivation, road construction, hydroelectricity and wind power.

Despite significant efforts by law enforcement agencies to control illegal hunting, many species such as pangolin, bear, primate and bird in Kon Plong have become targets for poachers.

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Small clawed otters in Kon Plong (Photo: FFI)

The forest areas in the district have been managed by forestry services and riverhead protection; therefore, important biodiversity values have not received the greatest attention. It is crucial to enhance biodiversity conservation through coordination amongst social organisations and relevant agencies. The first and extremely urgent priority is the formation of a protected area to conserve the remaining primary forest legally and effectively.

This natural heritage is a "national treasure" with a flora and fauna that need to be protected and restored.

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A star pheasant in Kon Plong (Photo: FFI)

The FFI and local authorities have implemented conservation programmes with the hope that the remaining area of this primary forest can be protected, maintained and developed for future generations.

The FFI and GreentViet are working with local administrations and the community to establish an area for stricter and more effective management and protection of the forest.

The programme has been supported by the Leibniz Wildlife and Zoo Research Institute (IZW), Kon Tum provincial forest management agency and the local authorities and people with funding from the Darwin Foundation (the UK), Rainforest Trust and Stiftung Artenschutz Foundations.