What a way to end the year and begin a new one! Bryan Endress, division head of the San Diego Zoo’s Applied Plant Ecology Division, and I traveled to Vietnam yesterday; it’s a long 19+ hour flight. We will be meeting with collaborators from another conservation organization, governmental officials, university researchers, and local communities to discuss increasing our involvement in a Tonkin snub-nosed monkey (TSNM) conservation program. TSNMs were thought to be extinct; however, a few populations were discovered, and it is estimated there are around 200 to 300 left in the wild.
One of the most viable recognized TSNM groups is in the Ha Giang Province and in the buffer zone of the Du Giang nature reserve. The local conservation organization is advocating the creation of a protected area and is interested in collaborating with the San Diego Zoo on reforestation and conservation education and outreach initiatives. It will be interesting to learn more about their plans through meetings today in Hanoi and then a trip into the field before we return to Hanoi for more meetings.
The location of the proposed area is northwest of Hanoi in the Ha Giang Province. The area surrounding the proposed reserve consists of three communities with multiple villages. One includes a town of 40,000 people and the smallest town has 12 families. On-the-ground conservation needs to mediate between conservation for the species of concern and local communities who live in and depend upon the resources. Local people often use resources for daily needs or to sell to provide income.
Well, I need to run for a meeting. I will try to e-mail again from the field.
Maren Peterson is a conservation education consultant for the San Diego Zoo.