New survey of critically endangered gibbon

A new report from FFI highlights the biodiversity values and threats in Vietnam’s stunning Hoang Lien-Van Ban Nature Reserve, with a particular focus on the critically endangered western black crested gibbon.

The survey results suggest that only 5 to 11 of these gibbons live in the reserve in only 2 to 5 family groups. Population estimates of the gibbon are extremely difficult as they live high up in the forest canopy so their calls must be used to determine their numbers.

Hoang Lien-Van Ban Nature Reserve is believed to be one of the most biodiverse-rich sites in Indochina and is one of only two places where the western black crested gibbon survives in Vietnam.

The survey also estimated that 36-45 endangered Indochinese grey langurs live in the reserve. In fact, one in five species recorded in the reserve during the survey are on the IUCN Red List – meaning they are globally threatened.

The scientists also discovered 29 species which had never been recorded in the reserve before. Collecting this basic species data is critical in order to better protect this biodiversity-rich area.

The main threats to wildlife in the reserve are illegal hunting, logging, forest fire, hydropower construction, mining and agricultural encroachment.

FFI not only helped to establish the reserve but also worked there for several years to reduce the above threats. In particular, we helped to organise community monitoring groups which built up local people’s capacity to conserve their own wildlife.

These groups continue to operate with funding from the local government, demonstrating that despite the threats to the forest, the nature reserve staff are committed to protecting its biodiversity.