Cat Ba makes for a relaxing holiday destination, but behind the scenic landscapes great efforts are being made to preserve the island’s wildlife.
Amid the idyllic waters of Halong Bay, by far the largest of the limestone islands is Cat Ba, which has been an ideal retreat until fairly recently. With an already large population inhabiting Cat Ba combined with the effects of thousands of visiting tourists, it comes as no surprise that the native flora and fauna on the island are now in decline. One particularly troubled species is the Trachypithecus poliocephalus, better known as the Cat Ba Langur, native to Cat Ba Island and found living nowhere else in the world.
Langurs are leaf-eating, tree dwelling primates that live in trees through out South East and South Asia. There are approximately 20 different species which when fully grown are about the size of a two-year old human.
Support wildlife at risk
The Cat Ba Langur lives in ever-shrinking area of wild forest on the island. There are only a couple of families left in the wild and those are now carefully monitored. The conservation agency AFAP supports an ongoing program to protect last 50 of the critically endangered Cat Ba Langurs.
EPRC (Endangered Primate Rescue Centre) director Tilo Nadler, a primate expert of the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS), Germany, has warned that only a small number of the animals remain in the wild. He further warned that the prognosis for this unique creature was less than favourable. Efforts to draw attention to the overwhelming difficulties the Cat Ba Langur faces have paid off, and they are now widely recognised as the world’s most endangered primate species.
Visitors can help by visiting the Endangered Primate Rescue Centre located at the gates of Cuc Phuong National Park.