Involving the Community
in Langur Conservation
with Cat Ba National Park
>>Promotion of Public
33 % of the remaining langur population inhabit areas that are located adjacent
to three rural communes. Hunting, trapping and wood-cutting were intense
in those areas, threatening the survival of the langurs. An alternative approach
to langur protection needed to be taken here. The core feature of this programme
was the involvement of local people in forest and wildlife protection, thus,
the establishment of a community-based langur protection
Another threat to the langurs is habitat destruction - this photo shows an
investigation into illegal wood-cutting
Trap in the home range of
Members of the langur patrol group
Members of the forest protection club
Cooperation with the national park - a capacity building workshop
Poster of the project's anti-wildlife trade campaign
Langur Guarding Programme
all langurs living in these areas have been put under the strict control
of local people, the ‘Langur Guardians’. Local authorities support
this programme by authorizing the guardian families to remove persons found
in the guarded zone and to confiscate any hunting device being carried. The
langur guardians also accepted the responsibility for education work and
therefore make a significant contribution to the conservation awareness and
education programme of the Cat Ba Langur Conservation Project.
the ‘Langur Guardians’ had, in the past, been successful langur
hunters. However, being faced, almost daily, with the rapid decline of this
species, they have since become dedicated langur conservationists. Their
profound knowledge of the Cat Ba langur, and other flora and fauna is of
invaluable help for conservation work on Cat Ba Island.
Commune Forest Patrol Groups for Langur Protection
In a second
step, the programme ‘Local People Protect the Cat Ba Langur’ was
extended through an initiative in those communes that exerted the highest
pressure on forest and wildlife. Two “Commune Forest Protection
Groups” were established and put in charge of controlling the forests
around their respective communes and also those areas adjacent to langur
ranges. This means that the Commune Forest Protection Group areas act as
a safe “buffer zone” around the areas looked after by the Langur
Guardians. The members of these commune protection groups are not just forest
patrolmen but also active educators. They visit households in their communes,
and encourage people to stop hunting and to protect the environment.
During the past years both the Langur Guardians and the members of the Commune
Forest Patrol Groups have stopped attempts to harvest the last timber trees
on Cat Ba Island, collected and destroyed an immense number of traps, freed
animals from traps and confiscated guns. Their activities and successes have
been the subject of several newspaper and TV reports in Vietnam.
Communal Initiative for Forest and Environmental
the Cat Ba Island ‘Conservation Family’ increased considerably.
In co-operation with local Forest Protection Departments, the Cat Ba Langur
Conservation Project has successfully established Forest Protection Clubs
(FPC) in five communes, as a measure to improve forest management and forest
protection on commune and household level. This will help to reach another
of the Project’s main objectives, the securing of sufficient and suitable
habitat not just for the currently existing but also for a hopefully further
increasing population of the Cat Ba langur.
FPCs comprise of 83 trained persons and can be considered as being a specific
commune task force group for conservation, forest and environmental protection.
The FPCs have so far been a success story, particularly in their promotion
of public conservation awareness on Cat Ba Island and also with respect to
immediate forest and wildlife protection, like control of bird hunting and
the exploitation of rare plants. Due to their success a sixth FPC was formed
in 2008 in Cat Ba town, with its main focus being stopping the illegal wildlife
trade in town.
Cooperation with Cat Ba
Cat Ba Island and its national park are of global, regional and local importance
for biodiversity conservation. However, Cat Ba’s biodiversity and
biointegrity are still threatened by intense developmental activities, ongoing
agricultural encroachment, and a steadily increasing human population. Another
important component of the Cat Ba Langur Conservation Project is therefore
the provision of direct support for Cat Ba National Park, to improve its
capacity to undertake nature protection duties.
Support includes capacity building for park staff, the provision of technical
aid, counseling with park and ranger management, and advising in park territorial
matters like the re-arrangement of the park boundaries. Due to advocacy work
of the Cat Ba Langur Conservation Project, the boundaries of Cat Ba National
Park were recently re-arranged to support conservation management on Cat
Promotion of Public
Increasing the knowledge of local people and local authorities about endangered
species, and the effects of unsustainable practices on wildlife, on the forest
and on people's lives is an important measure to improve habitat and wildlife
protection. In consideration of the most critical status of the Cat Ba langur,
we concentrate our educational work on adults - the ‘current decision
makers’ - and on local households that presently exert the largest impact
on wildlife and habitat, namely the citizens of those communes close to the
park or actually within it. We lay emphasis on direct interaction and personal
contact with the target groups for education rather than aiming
activities at the anonymous masses. This particularly includes a direct approach
to people that are known to be active hunters, trappers or wildlife traders.
Cat Ba Island not only the langur needs protection. Poaching of wildlife
on Cat Ba is intense. Wild animals and their parts,
and derivatives still can be ordered in many of Cat Ba’s restaurants.
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