Since 2017, the Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung has supported the research and conservation efforts of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research and its international and local Vietnamese partners for the protection of highly threatened mammals of the Truong-Son Mountains.
The Truong-Son Mountains or Annamite mountain range in Vietnam is a biodiversity hotspot with many endemic species that can be found only in this region. Some of them – like the Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), a type of forest-dwelling bovine, the Annamite striped rabbit (Nesolagus timminsi) and the large-antlered (Munticaus vuquangensis) and Annamite dark muntjacs (Muntiacus rooseveltorum / truongsonensis) – were only discovered by science in the 1990s. Unfortunately, these and other unique mammals of this region are facing an extinction crisis as a result of widespread poaching using wire foothold snares.
In 2018 and 2019, the Leibniz-IZW conducted systematic wildlife surveys in Pu Mat National Park in northern Vietnam (Map 1). The surveys covered a large area (almost 100,000 ha) and confirmed that Pu Mat National Park is one of the most important protected areas in Vietnam for biodiversity conservation. The surveys recorded 30 mammal and 34 bird species, including endemic and endangered species like the Annamite striped rabbit, the Annamite dark muntjac, and the crested argus pheasant. This information has allowed researchers to map the distribution of these animals across the National Park – which in turn has helped conservation partners like FFI and SVW to protect these rare species in a better way.
Currently, the teams are expanding their efforts to other priority areas in the Annamites (Map 2). In 2020, the MHS supported surveys in Bidoup Nui Ba National Park, one of the southernmost protected areas in the Annamites, as well as surveys for the silver-backed chevrotain (Tragulus versicolor). The latter was only rediscovered in 2018 by the Leibniz-IZW and GWC after being lost to science for almost three decades. Now the scientific and conservation teams seek to assess its distribution so that it can be protected – and ensure that it is not lost a second time and then perhaps forever.
In 2020, Vietnam TV accompanied the field work of Leibniz-IZW and collaboration partners in Bidoup Nui Ba National Park (www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NX2HlG5Ar4).