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Cao Vit gibbons in Trung Khanh, Cao Bang

Non nuoc Cao Bang UNESCO Global Geopark - the territory embedded with distinguishing values on cultures, history, natural landscapes and geological heritages - has a well protected nature reserve system, particularly the Cao Vit gibbon - landscape Conservation Area in Trung Khanh district (Cao Bang). The Conservation Area, which was established for Cao Vit gibbon conservation under the Decision No. 2536/QD-UBND dated November 15 2006 by Cao Bang Provincial People's Committee, covers 1.656,80 hectares locating on the territory of Ngoc Khe, Ngoc Con and Phong Nam communes in Trung Khanh district.

The Cao Vit gibbon - landscape conservation area in Trung Khanh district (Photo by Nguyễn Đức Thọ/FFI 

The Cao Vit gibbon (Nomascus nasutus), also known as the eastern black crested gibbon, is one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world and also one of the 5 most endangered primates in Vietnam. Nowadays, Cao Vit Gibbons can only be found in the Cao Vit gibbon - landscape Conservation Area in Trung Khanh district and parts of the Bangliang conservation area, Qingxi, China. This species has been recorded in Viet Nam since 1884 and three different varieties were found in 1965 in Trung Khanh district, Viet Nam. Since then till 2000, this gibbon species was thought to be extinct because of no records of its existence. It was not until 2002 that scientists, through the research and statistics of FFI, rediscovered a flock of this gibbon species of 26 individuals living in the forest of Phong Nam and Ngoc Khe commune, Trung Khanh district, Cao Bang province.

With the objective to preserve one of the world's rarest gibbons, Cao Vit Gibbon Conservation Project in Trung Khanh supported by FFI has commenced since the beginning of 2004. FFI organization supported to establish the Cao Vit gibbon - landscape Conservation Area. In addition, the project also supported to establish 2 Inspection task forces to carry out inspection on forest protection and bio-diversity monitoring; conducted training and awareness raising on protection of this rare gibbon for local communities, which then would result in enhanced the preservation of Cao Vit Gibbon.

The Project supported to establish 3 farming groups in 3 communes in the Conservation Area, and at the same time deployed the construction of agricultural, forestry and husbandry production model in the communes surrounding the Conservation Area, such as chinaberry planting for timber, delavaya toxocarpa french planting for fuelwood, napier planting for livestock grazing, construction of biogas stove and tank, supplement for corn variety, technical guidance for rice, maize sowing and caring, etc.

Thanks to the attention from the local authorties of China and Viet Nam, the Cao Cao Vit gibbon - landscape Conservation Area has been well preserved. For years now, the two sides have regularly organized cross-border meetings, joint inspections, study tours and to exchange experience on Cao Vit gibbon conservation. Particularly in 2011 Cao Bang province signed a memorandum of understanding with Guangxi (China) to promote the cooperation in the conservation of the rare Cao Vit gibbon living in the limestone forests in the Vietnam-China border area.

In addition, thanks to the attention, contributions, support and enthusiastic participation of related parties such as the Management board of Cao Vit gibbon Conservation Area, Departments of Agricultural and Rural development, Cao Bang Forest Protection Department, People’s committee of Trung Khanh district, as well as the authorities of Ngoc Con, Ngoc Khe, and Phong Nam communes, the Cao Vit Gibbon Conservation Project, which has been carried out effectively, has contributed to the effectiveness of agricultural - forestry production as well as raising the people's awareness in forest protection and development, and engagement in the Cao Vit gibbon conservation.

According to recent statistics on Cao Vit gibbon, the number of this gibbon is relatively stable; there are about 22 flocks with about 134 individuals. Results from the statistics show that the number of young Cao Vit gibbons account from 8 to 15% (from 9 to 13 individuals). The habitat of the Gibbon is well protected and there has not been any threats to the existence of Cao Vit Gibbon recorded till now, which is a good indication for the long-term recovery and development of the Cao Vit gibbons.

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