Deep in the forests of Vietnam, an amazing array of diverse wildlife –Asian elephants, gibbons, langurs, wild cattle, and deer – roam freely. While this area (The Vinh Cuu Nature Reserve) is supposed to provide a safe haven for many endangered species - it seems that illegal hunting and trade still remain a big problem.
For instance, a recent wildlife trade survey indicated that around 20 live infant gibbons were illegally smuggled from the reserve, and many more adult gibbons killed because of the trade last year. Part of the problem is a lack of conservation awareness in the local people. Many of those involved in illegal hunting have no knowledge that they’re breaking the law - or of the devastating effects that these actions have on endangered animals. A lack of funding has resulted in very few conservation efforts in this area, and up until recently, even the reserve’s staff had no experience in organizing and implementing these important tasks.
However, thanks to a conservation project created by the Centre for Natural Resources and Environment Studies the area is receiving an influx of valuable resources at time when they really need it. The organization is providing species research and outreach activities geared toward changing people’s attitudes toward conservation – in addition to educating the reserve’s staff on ways to successfully aid in the recovery of its endangered species populations.
The project also encourages local community members to become active in conservation efforts in the nature reserve. The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund has supported this valuable project since 2010.