The northern white-cheeked gibbon is categorised as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List and few viable populations remain. This subspecies is functionally extinct in China while populations in Vietnam and Lao PDR are severely depleted. Another species of global importance discovered in this area, the critically endangered saola, has virtually disappeared from the wild. This project aims to put conservation interventions in place for both species in Pu Mat National Park.
This park is one of Vietnam’s largest, at just over 90,000 hectares, and holds approximately 130 groups of gibbon, making it a global stronghold for this vanishing primate. Pu Mat is also within the historical range of the tiger, which is now thought to survive only in very small numbers, if at all, but the park still harbours Asian elephants (the second largest herd in Vietnam) and pangolins, as well as red-shanked douc langurs and a host of other species.
The project is designed to support improved protected area management, institutional coordination and cooperation, law enforcement and community engagement, all of which will enhance the long-term survival prospects of the gibbon and saola, which in turn can serve as flagship species to help conserve the wider biodiversity in this important national park.