Primates are a broad order of mammals ranging from minute species to the Eastern Gorilla weighing up to and over 200 kilograms. Primates are found in a range of habitats throughout Central and South America, Africa and Asia.
Viet Nam is home to 24 species of primate including 6 endemic species. Of the 24 species in Viet Nam all but three are considered threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with 6 of the species classified as critically endangered.
Cat Ba langur (T. poliocephalus poliocephalus):
The Cat Ba langur is only found on Cat Ba island off the north-east coast of Viet Nam. It has the smallest distribution of any langur species in the world. The species is considered critically endangered by the IUCN. As of 2006 the estimated population was 64 individuals. It is estimated that the population at the beginning of the 20th century prior to initiation of hunting was between 2400-2700 individuals.
Con Dao long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis condorensis):
Whilst there are varied species of long-tailed macaques in Viet Nam and around the world, the Vietnamese endemic species is limited to the Con Dao archipelago off the south east coast. The species is considered vulnerable by the IUCN. As of 2006 the estimated population was less than 1000 individuals.
Delacour’s langur (Trachypithecus delacouri):
The Delacour’s langur is found in the Northern provinces of Ninh Binh, Ha Nam, Hoa Binh, Thanh Hoa, and Ha Tay. The species is considered critically endangered by the IUCN. The species population has been declining and it is estimated that between 200 and 250 individuals remain in the wild.
Eastern black gibbon (Nomascus nasutus):
The Eastern black gibbon is found in a small area in north-east Viet Nam close to the Chinese border. The species is considered critically endangered by the IUCN. The estimated population is between 35-37 individuals.
Grey-shanked douc langur (Pygathrix cinerea):
The Grey-shanked douc langur is found in the provinces of Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Kon Tum, and Gia Lai (Nadler et al. 2003; Ha Thang Long 2004) in central Viet Nam. The species is considered critically endangered by the IUCN. The estimated population in 2004 was between 550-700 individuals, declining at a rate of over 80% of the total population.
Tonkin snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus avunculus)
Although populations used to be widespread throughout the north of Viet Nam the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey is now limited to the northern Vietnamese provinces of Tuyen Quang, Bac Kan and Ha Giang. The species is considered critically endangered by the IUCN. The estimated population in Viet Nam is between 150 and 250 individuals.
All species of primate in Viet Nam are threatened by illegal hunting and habitat destruction. Despite all species being protected by wildlife protection law the capture of primates is ongoing and has played a major role in the critical decline of Viet Nam’s endemic species.
Primates are hunted mostly for their use in traditional medicine and for the bushmeat trade, however are also subject to poaching for the international pet trade. The uniqueness of many of the Vietnamese species attracts a broad range of markets.
What are we doing?
WCS is involved in a number of projects which aim to tackle the major threats of many species in Viet Nam. Predominantly WCS aims to capacity build with local authorities and government officials to enable effective law enforcement and prosecution of wildlife crimes.
WCS has specifically worked on a project aiming to strengthen law enforcement and build political will to combat the illegal trade in Yellow-cheeked gibbons. The project targeted the Ho Chi Minh City metropolitan area which included work in Ho Chi Minh city, Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces. This area of Viet Nam is known as a major consumer of wildlife products. The project educated and trained both frontline officers and higher level officials. The project successfully led to long term commitment from Dong Nai officials, which has been proven by their continued crackdowns on illegal wildlife establishments and consumers.
WCS assists law enforcement agencies to perform investigations and conduct raids. Primates are often trafficked for the pet industry. WCS has performed intelligence in conjunction with other NGOs and authorities to convict primate traders.
Bleisch, B., Xuan Canh, L., Covert, B. & Yongcheng, L. 2008. Trachypithecus poliocephalus ssp. poliocephalus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 07 July 2017.
Ong, P. & Richardson, M. 2008. Macaca fascicularis ssp. condorensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 07 July 2017.
Nadler, T., Xuan Canh, L., Ngoc Thanh, V. & Khac Quyet, L. 2008. Trachypithecus delacouri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T22043A9350654. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 07 July 2017.
Bleisch, B. & Geissmann, T. 2008. Nomascus nasutus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T41642A10526189. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 07 July 2017.
Ngoc Thanh, V., Lippold, L., Nadler, T. & Timmins, R.J. 2008. Pygathrix cinerea. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T39827A10273229. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 07 July 2017.
Xuan Canh, L., Khac Quyet, L., Thanh Hai, D. & Boonratana, R. 2008. Rhinopithecus avunculus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T19594A8984679. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 07 July 2017.
Nadler, T., Vu Ngoc, T., and Streicher U. (2007). Conservation status of Vietnamese primates. Vietnamese Journal of Primatology. 1, 7-26.