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Community Based Conservation

Involving the Community in Langur Conservation

>Cooperation with Cat Ba National Park
>>Promotion of Public Awareness

About 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 programme.

Habitat destruction
Another threat to the langurs is habitat destruction - this photo shows an investigation into illegal wood-cutting

Small mammal trap
Trap in the home range of langurs

Langur Patrol Group
Members of the langur patrol group

Sea patrol
Sea patrol

Forest Protection Club
Members of the forest protection club

Capacity building workshop
Cooperation with the national park - a capacity building workshop

Restaurant campaign poster
Poster of the project's anti-wildlife trade campaign

Langur Guarding Programme

Today 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.

Some of 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 Protection 

In 2006 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. 

These 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 National Park

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 Ba Island.

Promotion of Public Awareness

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 educational activities at the anonymous masses. This particularly includes a direct approach to people that are known to be active hunters, trappers or wildlife traders.

On Cat Ba Island not only the langur needs protection. Poaching of wildlife on Cat Ba is intense. Wild animals and their parts, products, and derivatives still can be ordered in many of Cat Ba’s restaurants. 


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