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The Babbler Number 36 - December 2010

Photo: Jonathan C. Eames


Number 36 - December 2010

CONTENTS

Working together for birds and people

BirdLife International in Indochina is a subregional programme of the BirdLife Secretarial operating in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. It currently has two offices in the region:

• Comment • Features • Regional News

Vietnam Programme Office (new office location) Room 211-212, D1 building, Van Phuc Diplomatic Compound; 298 Kim Ma street, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi, Vietnam P.O. Box 89 6 Dinh Le, Hanoi, Vietnam Tel: +84-4-3 514 8904 Cambodia Programme Office #9, Street 29 Tonle Basac, Chamkarmon, Phnom Penh, Cambodia P.O.Box: 2686 Tel/Fax: +855 23 993 631 www.birdlifeindochina.org

• IBA News

• • • • • • • •

Rarest of the rare Project Updates Review Profile Obituary Staff News Photo Spot From the Archives

Critical ecosystems in Indochina - Vietnam’s planned sale of tiger “paste” protested - Historic tiger summit closes with plans to secure more financial backing - Biodiversity and development of the hydropower sector: Lessons from the Vietnamese experience - Tyrants, tycoon and tigers - First confirmed Saola record in over ten years - Vietnam’s soft conservation policies hard on tigers - South African police seize rhino horn from Vietnamese - A new species of crested gibbon from the central Annamite mountain range - New snub-nosed monkey discovered in Northern Myanmar - BirdLife and Forestry Administration secure designation Sarus Crane reserve at Kampong Trach IBA - Secret titanium mine threatens Cambodia’s most untouched forest - Road work threatens national park Vietnam Tonkin snub-nosed monkey - CEPF-RIT updates Trinh Le Nguyen: Localising conservation in Vietnam Lim Kannitha


The Babbler 36 - December 2010

Comment

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n November 23 the St. Petersburg Declaration on Tiger Conservation was made. In doing so the 13 Tiger range states, which include Cambodia and Vietnam, have committed themselves to doubling the number of wild Tigers across their range by 2022. The declaration is welcome as it may be the last chance to save the Tiger from global extinction. The goals for Cambodia and Vietnam include the use of translocation of Tigers to re-establish extinct populations. This is unrealistic. The Tiger is ecologically extinct in both these countries because of loss of habitat, poor protected areas management and direct persecution and trade arising from a very large and growing human populations. In Vietnam the protected areas are two small, unconnected and too poorly managed to imagine they could ever support Tigers again. In both countries the governments ignore their own laws and routinely open protected areas to hydro-projects, mining and road construction. Finding a Tiger prey species in just about any protected area in either country is difficult enough and there is simply no way that a prey base capable of supporting trans-located Tigers can be established in the time frame of the Declaration. The Vietnamese landscape is now largely agricultural and densely populated and Cambodia is destined to become so. No Tiger landscape will ever exist again in either country. Nor will any government ever sanction the release of an apex predator into human dominated landscapes. How many wolves are there in the UK?

The Babbler is the quarterly newsletter of BirdLife International in Indochina. This quarter The Babbler was complied by Tran Thi Thanh Huong and edited by Jonathan C. Eames, eames@birdlife.org.vn. The views expressed are those of contributors and are not necessarily those of BirdLife International.

This past quarter we allocated the remaining funds under the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund. I am pleased to announce that we have approved a total of 13 new small grants of which eight are focussed on Critically Endangered or Endangered bird species totalling US $ 160,000. For the first time CEPF funds will be spent on the Edwards’s Pheasant and Spoon-billed Sandpiper. This issue carries details of these and the large grant awards CEPF has made. There has been a number of staff changes this quarter and three valuable members of staff, Khue, Muoi and My from the Hanoi and Thira from the Phnom Penh offices have left us. I would like to thank them for their valuable contributions to BirdLife and wish them every success in the future. Lastly many thanks to Martin Fowlie for his excellent article on the CEPF project and to Huong for doing such an excellent job in compiling this issue of The Babbler. I wish all our readers a Happy New Year.

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The Babbler 36 - December 2010

Feature

Critical ecosystems in Indochina BirdLife’s role as the regional implementer for the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund in the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot is at the halfway stage. Here we discover the issues and the inroads being made into conservation in the region. these biodiverse areas which hold especially high numbers of unique species. Many encompass priority areas in multiple countries and each one faces extreme threats having lost at least 70% of its original habitat. The degradation of critical ecosystems is no less a threat for the estimated two billion people who live in these fragile places. Healthy ecosystems provide important services for human well being, such as clean air and water, soil regeneration and flood and climate control, as well as food, medicines and raw materials. Of the 34 so far identified, CEPF is focusing on biodiversity hotspots in developing countries. Hotspots in places such as California, Western Australia and Japan don’t receive support from CEPF as they are (or should be) well funded by their respective national governments. So far CEPF has invested in 18 hotspots and has developed strategies to invest in a further three; in total the hope is to invest in at least 25 hotspots. In the Indochina Region of the Indo-Burma irdLife has been working on conservation and investment strategy for the Hotspot, the regional strategy developed by this for a very long time!”, says region on behalf of CEPF. Seven years later, Jonathan Eames, Programme we are the main donor for conservation in the BirdLife involved extensive consultation with other stakeholders, including civil Manager for BirdLife in Indochina and head region.” of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund CEPF’s mission (see box) is to engage civil society groups, governments and academics. The developed profile then went through (CEPF) Regional Implementation Team. “For society in the conservation of the world’s consultation and was approved by CEPF’s us, it all began in 2003, when we prepared the biodiversity hotspots. It has identified 34 of donor council in May 2007.

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“It reflects a consensus among regional stakeholders about what the conservation priorities are”, says Jack Tordoff, Grant Director at CEPF. It identifies three broad areas for funding focus: i) The conservation of Globally Threatened species ii) Important sites, especially the Northern Highlands Limestone corridor which covers parts of northern Vietnam and south-west China and the Mekong river and its major tributaries and iii) Mainstreaming biodiversity into development plans and policies in sectors such as mining, tourism and hydropower. “Within the Indochina region CEPF grants are currently being made in four countries: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and the hope is that China will follow”, says Tordoff. BirdLife’s role has been to act as the Regional Implementation Team (RIT). In every region CEPF identifies a civil society group working in that region which has a good network and good overview of the conservation issues of the region. “The RIT role is a key one selected through a competitive process; BirdLife bid alongside other organisations and it was felt that BirdLife had the experience and was the 4


The Babbler 36 - December 2010

Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) is an innovative partnership bringing the following major funders together: L’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), The Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. CEPF bridges a gap between development and conservation, funding national and local groups that many donors find difficult to reach. In its first 10 years, CEPF has helped nearly 1,600 civil society groups implement diverse projects to safeguard biodiversity hotspots in 51 countries. The innovative financial mechanism of CEPF has resulted in strengthened civil societies, 10.8 million hectares of new or expanded protected areas and improved management of an additional 21 million hectares of globally important lands. In addition to CEPF funding, grant recipients have leveraged $261 million for hotspot conservation – matching CEPF investment in a ratio greater than 2:1. CEPF Highlights Engaged more than 20 industries as partners in biodiversity conservation, including tourism, fisheries, cocoa, coffee,mining, rice, wine and forestry. Private sector partners include De Beers Namaqualand Mines in South Africa, Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union in Ghana and Unilever in the Philippines. Established more than 80 networks of civil society groups,creating a new model in regions where conservation historically has been characterized by isolated and fragmented approaches, such as in Sumatra and the Guinean Forests of West Africa. Enabled the adoption of at least 25 sectoral policies, laws and regulations in support of biodiversity conservation and mainstreaming conservation into development policy at local and national levels. In the Philippines, Presidential Executive Order 578 declared all key biodiversity areas identified by CEPF to be “critical habitats.”

Feature best qualified in the region to tackle this role”, Tordoff continues. The RIT has various core functions but one is to act as an extension service to reach out to the potential applicants for CEPF funding, assist them when developing proposals, make sure they are aligned with CEPF strategic directions. Also, they should link well with one another so that the overall portfolio of investment is very strategically targeted, it forms a whole greater than the sum of its parts and it coordinates well with investments that other donors are making in the region. Another important function that BirdLife fulfils here is to manage a small granting scheme where they give sums of money of up to US$20,000 for individual projects. These form an important part of the overall CEPF portfolio because they facilitate quite innovative work, they enable work to be undertaken quickly to address very pressing threats, provide money to be given for planning grants to bring partners together around larger initiatives and they also allow gaps to be filled where work is needed on particular species or in a particular place that doesn’t justify a large grant. BirdLife plays an important role in monitoring the impacts of CEPF investments and also in communicating to potential grantees and to other stakeholders—government and other donors—the achievements that CEPF is making in the region. There has been a total commitment by CEPF in the region of US$9.5

million to be spent between 2008– 2013. Two years in and over half of that money has been committed in the form of grants, another sizeable sum is in the pipeline where projects have been identified and the RIT is currently working with applicants to develop proposals. “The timing of CEPF has been important because in the region there has generally been a big reduction in donor assistance, especially to Vietnam”, says Jonathan Eames. “In Vietnam and Cambodia, funds for biodiversity conservation from traditional sources, whether bilateral or multilateral, have decreased. A lot of funding has shifted from biodiversity to climate change and CEPF through BirdLife is providing important bridging funding for many projects. I really believe that this will be CEPF’s legacy in the region.” In fact, in the Indochina Region of the

Indo-Burma Hotspot, CEPF is providing significant funding to the large global conservation NonGovernmental Organisations (NGOs) such as WCS, WWF and FFI. However, CEPF sets out to support indigenous civil society as well as large global NGOs, but this has sometimes been difficult due to challenging operating environments for local civil society and the fact that local NGO establishment was not permitted in several countries until recently. “Supporting indigenous civil society has worked especially well in Cambodia, where there are now some very good local NGOs carrying out important work”, said Jonathan Eames. The number one emerging issue in the region is the threat to the Mekong River and its tributaries. The Mekong is the world’s most productive inland freshwater fishery. Wild fish and other aquatic resources harvested from the Mekong are worth up to

Safeguarding the Saola in Vietnam

Only discovered in 1992, Saola Pseudoryx nghetinhensis is a Critically Endangered bovid found only in the Annamite Mountains of Vietnam and Laos. Never seen in the wild by biologists, individuals are occasionally caught by hunters or on film using camera traps, but almost nothing is known about this species. In Vietnam, the population is estimated to be no more than 100 individuals occurring at 5


The Babbler 36 - December 2010

a very low density. WWF has been working on the species in Vietnam since 1996 and has been the recipient of a large grant from CEPF to continue and expand this work. For the first time in Vietnam, WWF is employing its own rangers to patrol core sites in protected areas along the border between Thua Thien Hue and Quang Nam provinces, to prevent hunting by removing illegal snares and reporting on illegal logging activities. Because they don’t have the same legal status as government rangers, they are augmented by accompanying police or army officers, giving the patrols the authority needed to carry out this type of intervention. WWF are also investigating innovative ways to monitor and track the Saola. Using dogs to track the scent of individuals is one possibility, as is the more inventive option of using Saola DNA collected from leeches in Saola habitat to try to ascertain numbers of individuals. US$9.4 billion per year taking into account secondary industries. The fisheries contribute significantly to the region’s economy and secure the incomes and livelihoods of millions of local fishers throughout the region, which include many of the area’s poorest people. The governments of Cambodia, Laos and Thailand are currently considering plans by Thai, Malaysian, Vietnamese and Chinese companies to build eleven dams on the Mekong River’s main stream. In total there are more than 130 sites being considered for dams in the lower Mekong basin. If built, the mainstream dams would block major fish migrations and disrupt this vitally important

Feature river, placing at risk millions of people who depend upon the Mekong for their food security and income.

The world’s most beautiful primate?

They would put at risk ecological connectivity and biodiversity, including such species such as Mekong Giant Catfish Pangasianodon gigas, Giant Freshwater Stingray Himantura chaophraya and Irrawaddy Dolphin Orcaella brevirostris. “Several projects on the threats to the Mekong and its tributaries are being funded through CEPF with grants to organisations such as International Rivers and the University of Canterbury, New Zealand”, says Jonathan Eames. “What works so well is that we are able to coordinate and connect these projects to each other thus achieving a greater impact overall.”

Red-shanked Douc Langurs Pygathrix nemaeus are a riot of colour and must surely qualify as the world’s most beautiful primate. However, like most primates in the region they are under enormous humaninduced pressures. Hunting is currently the major threat to this species, most often for subsistence use and traditional ‘medicine’, as well as sometimes for the pet trade. Destruction of its natural habitat is also a threat; a large number in the centralw part of Vietnam have suffered from a post-war human explosion and extensive logging for coffee, rubber, and cashew plantations, as well as wood collecting. Son Tra peninsula in central Vietnam probably holds the country’s largest population. The douc langurs here enjoyed indirect protection as the peninsula is the site of an army installation. However, in recent years it has opened up and is currently undergoing rapid development for tourism in the form of hotel complexes and infrastructure. The original reserve of 4,000 ha has been eroded to 2,500 ha and faces the possibility of being split in two, resulting in habitat fragmentation and the isolation of some of the douc langurs. This and the increase in hunting on the peninsula

CEPF is also providing funds for more traditional species work. Projects on primates, freshwater turtles and the mysterious Saola (see boxes) are all being funded as well as threatened birds for which BirdLife in Indochina has a strong track record. “CEPF has provided a good opportunity to address BirdLife priorities in the region, in terms of Critically Endangered birds and also at a number of Important Bird Areas where BirdLife has worked”, says Eames. Almost US$2 million has been allocated to birds in Cambodia, highlighting the importance of this country’s avifauna. For example, work on the endemic sharpeii race of Sarus Crane Grus antigone at reserves in the Mekong delta is being carried by two Cambodian NGOs, soon to be joined by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. In this way CEPF funds are being used in a way

consistent with BirdLife’s strategic priorities. “This opportunity has taken BirdLife’s involvement in the region’s conservation to the next level”, concludes Eames. “Not only are we actively involved on the ground, we are now helping to steer strategic priorities. The next few years will be critical but

are the key issues being addressed by CEPF grant recipient the Douc Langur Foundation (DLF). DLF is working to ensure that the transition of Son Tra to a tourist destination is done without endangering this population of douc langurs. In fact, the presence of these beautiful primates could well provide an added bonus for visiting tourists, but contact between people and langurs has to be managed carefully. Extensive monitoring of the various groups is being carried out by DLF to establish the ranges and habitat use of the species at Son Tra. Local people have been trained as forest guards to patrol the peninsula resulting in the removal of hundreds of snares and traps over the last 18 months. CEPF has provided essential funding to ensure the lobbying and engagement of local government whilst also providing the means to gather essential baseline data and to maintain protection of this charismatic species.

BirdLife and CEPF will be leading the way to save the amazing wealth of biodiversity in this fascinating region.” Martin Fowlie-BirdLife International Photos: Jonathan C. Eames 6


The Babbler 36 - December 2010

Vietnam’s planned sale of tiger “paste” protested

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ANOI, Vietnam – A local conservation group voiced opposition Friday to the planned sale of tiger paste by Vietnamese authorities, amid warnings by the international community that the animal’s survival is in serious jeopardy. Officials in Vietnam’s northern Thanh Hoa province agreed last month to organize a public auction of 6 pounds (2.8 kilograms) of tiger paste (bone glue) seized from traffickers. An auction date has not been set. Vietnam bans the hunting or trade of wild animals and their products, but the Ministry of Agriculture has issued a directive allowing its use in making medicines. In Vietnam, tiger bones are used to make expensive traditional medicines purported to cure many illnesses. Two pounds

(1 kilogram) of tiger paste could be sold for $10,000 on the black market. Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung, deputy director of Hanoi-based Education for Nature Vietnam, said Thanh Hoa authorities had used a “loophole” in the law to allow the sale of the tiger paste.“The auctions go against conservation efforts,” she told The Associated Press in a phone interview, adding the move has “helped legitimize the trade of the animal. We had recommended that the paste be destroyed to send a clear message to the public that the authorities do not encourage the consumption of wild animals’ products,” she said. Full press release from Education for Nature (ENV) can be viewed here. Further response to the incident by the Vietnam Deputy Minister of Natural Resources & the Environment is availale here. --------Source: -The Washington Post 3 Dec 2010; -Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV) -Photo: Tamnhin.net

regional news

Historic tiger summit closes with plans to secure more financial backing St. Petersburg, Russia: The historic International Tiger Conservation Forum ended today with crucial plans to discuss further financing options for the Global Tiger Recovery Programme approved at the meeting, kick-starting new efforts to double the number of wild tigers. On the final day of the summit, delegates met briefly to hammer out key dates in the coming year to reach final agreement on how to pay for and monitor the recovery plan. This followed the endorsement on Tuesday of the Programme and a Leader’s Declaration by heads of government and tiger range countries. The 13 tiger range countries will meet during the next six months to secure more cash for the recovery plan and will finalize the long-term financing of the plan in July. They will meet again in December 2011 to monitor how well the 12-year-plan to save tigers is working. At the summit, WWF committed to spend USD 50 million over the next five years on tiger conservation, and set a goal of increasing that to USD 85 million. The global conservation organization also released its plans to support the government’s commitments to save tigers. Hosted by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, governments capped a year-long

political process on Tuesday with about USD 127 million in new funding to support the plan, known as the Global Tiger Recovery Programme. In addition, funding will include a large loan package from the World Bank to some tiger range countries, and millions in additional grants from the Global Environment Facility. Other heads of government attended the summit, from Bangladesh, China, Laos and Nepal. The Global Tiger Recovery Programme was developed by countries that have tigers, which took more than a year to put together, and lays out a comprehensive set of actions to help tigers recover from decades of poaching and destruction of their forest homes. The cost of the initial stage of the recovery programme, prepared by the tiger range countries with support from the Global Tiger Initiative of the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility and other tiger conservation partners including WWF, has been largely covered by the tiger range countries themselves, but USD 350 Million is needed from the international community. ------------Source: WWF Photo: Staffan Widstrand/WWF 7


The Babbler 36 - December 2010

REGIONAL NEWS

BIODIVERSITY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE HYDROPOWER SECTOR: LESSONS FROM THE VIETNAMESE EXPERIENCE ICEM - International Centre for Environmental Management

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ietnam is one of the most biologically diverse countries on Earth. It is a conservation hotspot supporting nearly 10 percent of the global total of mammal and bird species. Many species are found only in Vietnam or in few other places. It is recognised as having especially high rates of terrestrial endemism. For example, in the decade to 2002, 13 new genera, 222 new species and 30 new subspecies of plants were described in Vietnam – many endemic to the country. Its freshwater biodiversity is equally significant for its conservation values. Those assemblages of ecosystems, plants and animals play a critical role in national development and wellbeing, providing economic sectors and local communities with essential goods and services. Yet, human uses and consumption are placing stress on this natural systems foundation for development. Nearly 700 species are threatened with extinction nationally while over 300 species are threatened with global extinction. Forty-nine of Vietnam’s globally threatened species are classified as ‘critically endangered’, meaning that they face a high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future.

for the country. The Government’s 6th Power Development Plan for 2006-2015 reflects that goal. Hydropower is projected as one of the main sources of electricity, with ambitious plans to dam most of the nation’s river systems. Despite its important role as a renewable resource replacing fossil fuel dependent power generation, hydropower comes with its own significant social and environmental costs. The challenge facing Vietnam is settling on the right scale and pace of hydropower development so that natural resources and their uses by other sectors are maintained along with biodiversity and social and cultural assets. Potential losses in development, social and environmental values of biodiversity need to be weighed against the economic and social benefits of hydropower. It is in this context that Strategic Environmental Assessment, or SEA, is valuable as a development planning tool.

With funding from the CEPF Small Grants Programme, ICEM has prepared an information kit that aims to assist in promoting a more balanced and less destructive approach to At the same time, Vietnam is undergoing a prolonged hydropower planning and development. This information period of rapid and successful economic and social kit, Biodiversity and Development of the Hydropower development. Significant advances in poverty alleviation – a Sector: Lessons from the Vietnamese Experience, contains reduction from 58% in 1993 to 15.9% in 2006 – urbanisation five documents, so far two of which are available for and industrialisation have been achieved. This growth has reference. Volume I – A Review of the Effects of Hydropower resulted in significant and continuing increases in electricity Development on Biodiversity in Vietnam (read full paper); demand. In April 2010, the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s and Volume III - Biodiversity and Hydropower Policy brief Electricity Regulatory Authority raised its forecast increase in (read full paper). demand for the year from 15% to 17%. Demand for power in the first quarter of 2010 rose by 20.2%. In 2008, growth in This set of good practice guidelines and policy briefs electrical output increased by 13% and in 2009 by 14% . is designed to increase our understanding of the relationship between hydropower and biodiversity, and provide guidance To meet these growing demands, while also trying on the assessment tools and mitigation measures that are to minimise negative environmental effects planners and available to help minimise negative and unwanted side effects scientists are endeavouring to establish a balanced energy mix of hydropower development.

Existing and proposed large hydropower reservoir development in Vietnam. Volume I – A Review of the Effects of Hydropower Development on Biodiversity in Vietnam. International Centre for Environmental Management (2010)

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The Babbler 36 - December 2010 The Hukawng Valley Tiger Reserve in Kachin State was declared by the Myanmar Government in 2001 with the support of the US-based Wildlife Conservation Society. In 2004 the reserve’s designation was expanded to include the entire valley of 21,890 square kilometres (8,452 square miles), making it the largest tiger reserve in the world. Today a 200,000 acre mono-crop plantation project is making a mockery of the reserve’s protected status. Fleets of tractors, backhoes, and bulldozers rip up forests, raze bamboo groves and flatten existing small farms. Signboards that mark wildlife corridors and “no hunting zones” stand out starkly against a now barren landscape; they are all that is left of conservation efforts. Application of chemical fertilizers and herbicides together with the daily toil of over two thousand imported workers are transforming the area into huge tapioca, sugar cane, and jatropha plantations. In 2006 Senior General Than Shwe, granted the Yangon-based Yuzana Company license to develop this “agricultural development zone” in the tiger reserve. Yuzana Company is one of Myanmar’s largest businesses and is chaired by U Htay Myint, a prominent real estate tycoon who has close connections with the junta.

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bitter land struggle is unfolding in northern Myanmar’s remote Hugawng Valley. Farmers that have been living for generations in the valley are defying one of the country’s most powerful tycoons as his company establishes massive mono-crop plantations in what happens to be the world’s largest tiger reserve.

Local villagers tending small scale farms in the valley since before it was declared a reserve have seen their crops destroyed and their lands confiscated. Conflicts between Yuzana Company employees, local authorities, and local residents have flared up and turned violent several times over the past few years, culminating with an attack on residents of Ban Kawk village in 2010. As of February 2010, 163 families had been forced into a relocation site where there is little water and few finished homes. Since then, through further threats and intimidation, others families have been forced to take “compensation funds” which are insufficient to begin a new life and leave them destitute.

REGIONAL NEWS

Despite the powerful interests behind the Yuzana project, villagers have been bravely standing up to protect their farmlands and livelihoods. They have sent numerous formal appeals to the authorities, conducted prayer ceremonies, tried to reclaim their fields, refused to move, and defended their homes. The failure of various government officials to reply to or resolve the problem finally led the villagers to reach out to the United Nations and the National League for Democracy. In March 2010 representatives of three villages filed written requests to the International Labor Organization to investigate the actions of Yuzana. In July 2010, over 100 farmers opened a joint court case in Kachin State. Although the villagers in Yuzana’s project area have been ignored at every turn, they remain determined to seek a just solution to the problems in Hugawng. As Myanmar’s military rulers prepare for their 2010 “election,” local residents hold no hope for change from a new constitution that only legalizes the status quo and the military’s placement above the law. Companies such as Yuzana that have close military connections are set to play an increasing role in the economy and will also remain above the law. The residents of Hugawng Valley are thus at the frontline of protecting not only their own lands and environment but also the rights of all of Myanmar’s farmers. The Kachin Development Networking Group stands fi rmly with these communities and therefore calls on Yuzana to stop their project implementation to avoid any further citizens’ rights abuses and calls on all Kachin communities and leaders to work together with Hugawng villagers in their brave struggle. Read full report. --------------Source: Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG). Tyrants, Tycoons and Tigers. Yuzana Company Ravages Burma’s Hugawng Valley. (2010) 9


The Babbler 36 - December 2010

REGIONAL NEWS

For the first time in more than ten years, there has been a confirmed sighting of one of the rarest and most enigmatic animals in the world, the Saola Pseudoryx nghetinhensis from the Annamite Mountains of Laos and Vietnam. The Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos) has announced that in late August villagers in the central province of Bolikhamxay captured a Saola and brought it back to their village.

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hen news of the Saola’s capture (no biologist has ever reported seeing one reached Lao authorities, the in the wild) that they have been likened Bolikhamxay Provincial to unicorns, in spite of the fact that they Agriculture and Forestry Office have two horns. It’s been speculated that a immediately sent a technical team, advised by the IUCN Saola Working Group and the Lao Programme of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), to examine the Saola and release it. Unfortunately, the animal, an adult male, weakened by the ordeal of several days in captivity, died shortly after the team reached the remote village. The animal was photographed whilst alive. “The government of Lao PDR and WCS are to be commended for their rapid response and efforts to save this animal. We hope the information gained from the Saola captured by villagers in Laos incident can be used to ensure that this is not Photo: Bolikhamxay Provincial Conservation Unit the last Saola anyone has a chance to see,” says William Robichaud, Coordinator of the IUCN Saola Working Group. Chinese myth of a magical unicorn, the qilin, This is the first confirmed record of the may have been derived from familiarity species since two photographs of wild Saola with Saola in prehistoric China, although the were taken in Laos by automatic camera species does not occur there today, if it ever traps in 1999. did. The Saola was first discovered in 1992, The Saola is listed as Critically in Vietnam’s Vu Quang Nature Reserve, Endangered on the IUCN Red List of near the country’s border with Laos. With Threatened Species™ and probably no more their long horns and white facial markings, than a few hundred exist . With none in the Saola resembles the antelopes of North zoos and almost nothing known about how Africa, but is more closely related to wild to maintain them in captivity, extinction of cattle. Saola in the wild would mean its extinction Saola are secretive and so seldom seen everywhere.

“The death of this Saola is unfortunate,” says the Provincial Conservation Unit of Bolikhamxay Province. “But at least it confirms an area where it still occurs and the government will immediately move to strengthen conservation efforts there.” The animal was reportedly found in the village’s sacred forest in remote Xaychamphon District, but it is not clear why the villagers took it into captivity. After its death, the technical team took the carcass to Pakxan, the provincial capital, where biologists from WCS and the Lao government preserved all parts for analysis, future study and reference. This is the first Saola specimen to be so completely preserved. “Study of the carcass can yield some good from this unfortunate incident. Our lack of knowledge of Saola biology is a major constraint to efforts to conserve it,” says Dr. Pierre Comizzoli, a veterinarian with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and a member of the IUCN Saola Working Group. “This can be a major step forward in understanding this remarkable and mysterious species. It’s clear that further awareness-raising efforts about the special status of Saola are needed but the Saola doesn’t have much time left. At best a few hundred survive, but it may be only a few dozen. The situation is critical.” The Lao Department of Forestry (DoF) and provincial and district authorities are

urging villagers in the area not to capture Saola, and immediately release any they might encounter. “As a Party to the Convention on Biological Diversity, and as outlined in our National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy, Laos is committed to conserving biodiversity, and we want to give special attention to ‘flagship species’, such as the Saola,” says Bouaphanh Phanthavong, Director of DoF’s Division of Forest Resources Conservation and a member of the IUCN Saola Working Group. “This incident highlights the importance of Laos to global wildlife conservation. Saola and several other rare endemic species are found almost nowhere else in the world,” says Ms. Latsamay Sylavong, the national representative for the IUCN Lao Programme. “Our knowledge of them is limited, and in Laos we need to improve protection of both the ecosystems and the special species they hold, like the Saola. Much needs to be done.” -------Source: IUCN

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The Babbler 36 - December 2010

Egret catching in Vietnam

REGIONAL NEWS

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hen the autumn arrives, farmers in Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces begin commercial egret trapping to serve the restaurant trade. Farmers use several tricks to trap egrets; they place hundreds of dummy egrets and thousands of bamboo sticks smeared with glue in the field and turn on tape lures playing egret calls. By this method a hunter can catch several dozens up to a hundred egrets in a day. They sell these birds to restaurants at the price of Dong 15,000-20,000/bird (less than US $ 1 each). In the future will egrets only exist in folk songs? . Source: Vietnam Net

From the photograph below it is evident the hunters also use live birds as decoys. Ed.

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The Babbler 36 - December 2010

Vietnam’s soft conservation policies hard on tigers

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ndochinese tiger once prowled Vietnam’s forests in large numbers. Today, they are being pushed to the edge of extinction in a country that is now considered a transit hub for Big Cat products. Conservation experts say that the root cause of the problem is that the Vietnamese government has not imposed stiff punishments for poaching and wildlife trade crimes. “Illegal hunting of wild tigers and tiger prey species in Vietnam has been occurring at highly unsustainable levels for some time and

Skeletons of tiger and other wildlife species seized by Hanoi Environmental Police. Photo: Giang An/Thanh nien News

more than 700 kilograms of wildlife parts in need to focus on securing these sites as the a raid on two houses in Hanoi. Six people number one priority for the species,” said Dr. involved were detained for violating laws on Joe Walston, director of WCS-Asia. wildlife protection.

Jake Brunner, International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) programme coordinator for Vietnam, urged stricter punishment against wildlife violators, saying is the main cause alongside habitat destruction, that current measures are not sufficient for the decimation of wild tiger populations deterrents. in Vietnam,” said Scott Roberton, Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Country “The Vietnamese government needs to impose Representative in Vietnam. serious penalties, meaning large fines and lengthy prison sentences, for on those who “Although Vietnam has increased its hunt, traffic, or consume tiger parts. At the protected area coverage to 6.7 percent (2.2 moment these activities are not treated as million ha) the management of these areas serious crimes,” he said. “As a result, the is poor and is more focused on protecting demand continues to grow as more people can the trees than the animals that live amongst afford to buy exotic wildlife products.” them. There is inadequate investment for wildlife conservation, low capacity of the Declining numbers management authorities, poor collaboration with local stakeholders, and low incentives to A WCS study released last week identified protect wildlife,” he said. 42 “source sites” scattered across Asia that should be prioritized in the fight to save tigers According to the conservation NGO, World from extinction. These sites in Russia, Nepal, Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), the Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, largest combined wild tiger habitat on earth Thailand, and Laos give the world’s remaining is to be found in the forests of the Greater tiger populations a chance to recover, it said. Mekong region covering 540,000 km2 in Meanwhile, the study found no evidence of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and breeding populations in Vietnam, Cambodia, Vietnam. However, as few as 350 endangered China, or North Korea. Indochinese Tigers inhabit the region’s forests, down from around 1,200 in 1998. A WCS statement last week said fewer than 3,500 wild tigers inhabit a tiny fraction of their As few as 30 wild tigers are estimated to former habitat, clustered in small pockets of survive in Vietnam. Despite this low number, Asian forests. an illegal wildlife trade, including tiger parts and products, has thrived in the country, “In the past, overly ambitious and complicated despite myriad efforts to stop it. conservation efforts have failed to do the basics: prevent the hunting of tigers and their Last week, police seized eight tiger skeletons, prey. With 70 percent of the world’s wild tigers three panther heads, 560 gall bladders and in just six percent of their current range, efforts

A failure to treat poaching and wildlife trade as serious crimes is pushing tigers to extinction, experts warn.

REGIONAL NEWS

Farming concerns

While the number of wild tigers in Vietnam has dropped to critical lows, tiger farming remains a concern for possible connections with illegal trading rings. “The [Vietnamese] government must first monitor these farms closely to ensure no leakage of tigers either in or out. It may then be possible to reintroduce captive tigers into the wild on an experimental basis. This would require international oversight and strict protection of the reintroduction sites,” said Brunner of IUCN. Onkuri Majumdar, Senior Program Officer of conservation and human rights advocacy FREELAND Foundation, expressed a less optimistic view of the current crisis. “Strictly enforced and constantly checked individual identification of tigers in these ‘farms’ will ensure that unscrupulous owners are not able to launder many tigers by using the same identification tag for several animals. “Simultaneously, there must be a continuous process of alerting and informing policy makers, senior government officials and civil society that these ‘farms’ have zero conservation value,” he said. “Farmed tigers can never be released back into the wild because they have no wilderness survival skills. Instead of securing a future of wild tigers, farms only secure future profits for their owners.” ------------Source: Thanh Nien News.

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The Babbler 36 - December 2010

S

REGIONAL NEWS

South African Police Seize Rhino Horn from Vietnamese

outh African police arrested two Vietnamese nationals in late November 2010 and seized 38 kilograms of rhinoceros horn. The bust is the latest seizure in an emerging wildlife trade between the two countries. The two detained in South Africa for possessing rhino horns will remain in custody until their next court appearance, which is slated for December 7. On November 23, the men boarded a bus from Johannesburg to Cape Town. Near Beaufort West in South Africa’s Western Cape Province, the bus stopped at a roadblock, South African newspaper Eyewitness News reported. “During the subsequent search members found 15 rhino horns between the luggage of the two suspects,” China’s Xinhua news agency cited South African police spokesman Malcolm Pojie as saying, adding that the men made a brief appearance in the Beaufort West Magistrate’s Court on November 24. Faan Coetzee of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, a South African wildlife conservation organization, described the arrest as “significant and one of the biggest busts in a long time.” “One person was arrested on the spot while the other one fled the scene but was later arrested at a guest house in town,” Coetzee told Thanh Nien Weekly via email. “The men appeared in court but were not asked to plead and were instead held in custody for further investigation.” Nguyen Trung Kien, counsellor of the Vietnamese Embassy in South Africa, said

he became aware of the case through local media. But he could not confirm that the two men are Vietnamese nationals. “The embassy is contacting relevant agencies here for official information before taking any further action,” Kien said. In April, the rotting, bullet-addled carcass of a Javan rhino was found in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong. Conservationists say the discovery may well have marked the end of Vietnam’s last unique subspecies of the horned mammal. Emerging trade Sarah Morgan, a communications officer for the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC’s Greater Mekong Programme, said that the illegal trade of rhino horns between South Africa and Vietnam is a fairly new development. “No study has been conducted specifically focusing on the trade between South Africa and Vietnam, as it has only recently emerged as an issue in the past few years,” Morgan said. “However, as you can see from [the recent arrest], it is a growing issue and one that they are very serious about in South Africa.” According to a story published last month on Newscientist.com, Africa’s rhinoceros population generally stabilized in the 1990s before poaching began ravaging the numbers in 2005. “A belief began to emerge in Vietnam that if you were suffering from cancer and took a dose of crushed rhino horn in a liquid it would halt the progress of the disease,” the

The remains of Vietnam’s probable last rhino that is believed to have been killed by poachers at Nam Cat Tien National Park in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong in April 2010

magazine’s website quoted John Sellar, the chief enforcement officer for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as saying. The belief spread “like wildfire” he says, and coincided with increasing affluence in Vietnam. As a result, the trade turned its ugly eye on South Africa - one of the few countries that still had a healthy rhino population. Counsellor Kien of the Vietnamese Embassy in South Africa has denied that most of the rhino horns poached in South Africa are sent to Vietnam. “Vietnam may be used as one of the transit points in a much bigger Asian market,” he said. “In Vietnam, it is illegal to possess, transport and trade rhino horns,” he added. Traditional Chinese medicine considers rhino horn one of three main restoratives. Shaved or ground into a

powder, the horn is dissolved in boiling water and used to treat fevers, rheumatism, and gout. East Asians also consider it a powerful aphrodisiac. It is also considered something of a status symbol, they say. As a result of worldwide demand, at least 268 rhinos have been killed in South Africa this year for their horns. Last year, the fatalities totalled 122. Experts inside South Africa say that the unprecedented poaching has claimed almost one percent of the existing rhino population. The herds continue to grow at between 3-11.5 percent annually. Beefing up bilateral enforcement On October 22, a delegation of South African officials with a stake in rhino conservation, arrived in Hanoi and 13


The Babbler 36 - December 2010

Saving the rhinos... (cont.)

met with their Vietnamese counterparts to address the growing illicit trade between the two countries. In the course of the meetings, South Africa and Vietnam agreed to develop a Memorandum of Understanding which will form the basis of future law enforcement collaborations, according to Morgan of TRAFFIC. She said a Vietnamese delegation is planning to visit South Africa some time in April 2011, when both parties hope to have the document ready to sign. Vietnamese conservation agencies have committed to continuing police liaison/ intelligence-sharing with South African Interpol officials. The South African embassy in Hanoi will also play a greater role on the issue and will use diplomatic channels to assist in combating illegal rhino horn trade, according to a TRAFFIC statement. To aid enforcement of South Africa’s policies on legal horn trade, South Africa will donate microchip scanners to Vietnam’s customs agencies so that they can appropriately track microchip-planted horns.

The country’s authorities plan to share DNA info on rhino horns with Vietnamese authorities. It has also agreed to tighten its monitoring of trophy horns, which are legal in South Africa. Vietnam has been increasingly implicated as a main driver of the illegal rhino horn trade in Asia, and a major trade route has emerged connecting illegally killed rhinos in South Africa with consumers in Vietnam, TRAFFIC said in a recent report. This past July, a Vietnamese national was sentenced to three years in prison by the HCMC People’s Court for trying to smuggle five horns weighing 18 kg through Ho Chi Minh City International Airport. A report on the rhinoceros trade in Africa and Asia by the IUCN Species Survival Commission, African and Asian Rhino Specialist Groups, and TRAFFIC can be found here. ------Source: 1. Thanh Nien News 2. Tom Milliken, Richard H Emslie, and Bibhab Talukdar (compilers). African and Asian Rhinoceroses - Status, Conservation and Trade. IUCN Species Survival Commission, African and Asian Rhino Specialist Groups, and TRAFFIC (2009) 3.Traffic press release

REGIONAL NEWS

Black-faced Spoonbill Rescue

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hai Binh Province, VietnamOn 14 December 2010, two black-faced spoonbills Platalea minor were reported caught by local hunters in Tien Hai Nature Reserve. Dinh Van Cao, a member of its Management Board was sent immediately to the site for further investigation and to rescue the birds. The birds were netted and still in good condition when examined. Cao persuaded the local people to release the birds back to the wild. “This is the second time of the year we successfully rescued Black-faced Spoonbills caught by hunters.” said Cao. “Another three individuals were released in March. In both cases, we worked closely with local people to free the birds at the core zone of the Nature Reserve and we only left the site after seeing the birds to fly safely out of the sight.”

Lucky birds rescued in March and December 2010. ---------------Source: Tien Hai Management Board, Thai Binh Province.

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The Babbler 36 - December 2010

REGIONAL NEWS

A new species of crested gibbon from the central Annamite mountain range

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rested gibbons are endemic to the Indochinese bioregion and occur only in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and southern China. However, their diversity is not completely understood and the number of recognized species is still under debate. Recent investigations divide crested gibbons into six species, namely Nomascus hainanus, N. nasutus, N. concolor, N. leucogenys, N. siki and N. gabriellae. However, there is evidence that gibbons in the range of N. siki represent two taxa. Based on genetic, acoustic and morphological data, a new gibbon species; Nomascus annamensis has recently been described. Read full article. ---------Source: Van Ngoc Thinh, Alan R. Mootnick, Vu Ngoc Thanh, Tilo Nadler and Christian Roos. A new species of crested gibbon from the central Annamite mountain range. Vietnamese Journal of Primatology (2010) 4, p1-12

Nomascus annamensis: male (black) and female (yellow). Photo: Tilo Nadler/Frankfurt Zoological Society

Twelve new species of fresh water fish discovered in Vietnam

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ildlife At Risk (WAR) announces 12 new species of fresh water fish for Vietnam. These species were recorded during WAR’s surveys in Phu Quoc Island since the end of 2008. Some of these species are quite familiar to local people. Many non-commerical fish species are declining steadily due to habitat lost and water pollution. These species play an important role in balancing the ecosystem. The discovery of these species [is a first step] to monitor changes in the populations and based on that to implement appropriate conservation

solutions. In the coming time, WAR will continue the fresh water fish programme including fish surveys, and breeding and releasing native fish to the wild. See full list of 12 new freshwater fish species here. -----------Source: Wildlife At Risk Photo: Lepidocephalichthys furcatus/Bui Huu Manh_WAR

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The Babbler 36 - December 2010

Molecular Phylogeny of the Barwings (Aves: Timaliidae: Actinodura), a Paraphyletic Group, and Its Taxonomic Implications Feng Dong, Fei Wu, Lu-Ming Liu, and Xiao-Jun Yang

T

he barwings (Aves: Timaliidae: genus Actinodura) are a small group of poorly studied babblers that inhabit mountains from the Himalayas to continental China and Taiwan. To infer the phylogeny among members of the Actinodura, the authors examined variations of 3 mitochondrial fragments (the entire cytochrome b gene, and portions of the NADH dehydrogenase subunit two and cytochrome c oxidase I genes, with 2,725 bp in total) in multiple samples representing six of the seven recognized barwing species. Results of both the maximum-likelihood and Bayesian-based analyses indicated that Actinodura is composed of 2 major clades; however, there were two Minla species nested within the clade that otherwise

contained all barwing species. Due to the nature of the paraphyly, they propose that the two clades of Actinodura be split into two genera, Actinodura and Ixops, which can be diagnosed by the tail length, the presence/absence of a striped breast, and other morphological traits. Their results also revealed that Minla, an ally of Actinodura, is also a paraphyletic group. Their analysis supported the recent taxonomic recommendation to delimit traditional minlas into three monotypic genera. They also present evidence suggesting that the speciation of barwings might have partially been promoted by ecological niche differentiation along with geographical isolation. Read full report. ------------Source: Feng Dong, Fei Wu, Lu-Ming Liu, and Xiao-Jun Yang. Molecular phylogeny of the barwings (Aves: Timaliidae: Actinodura), a paraphyletic group, and its taxonomic implications. Zoological Studies 49(5): 703-709 (2010). Photo: Taiwan Barwing Actinodura morrisoniana. Carolinabirds.org

regional news

New Snub-Nosed Monkey Species Discovered in Northern Myanmar The New Rhinopithecus strykeri Sneezes in the Rain

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cientists from three NGOs have discovered and describrda new species of monkey Rhinopithecus strykeri in Northern Myanmar.

Myanmar it is geographically isolated from other species by two major barriers, the Mekong and the Salween rivers, which may explain why the species has not been discovered earlier. Sadly, this latest addition to the snub-nosed family is already threatened. Hunting pressure is rising thanks to loggers moving into previously isolated distribution area of this newly discovered monkey.

Field research was led by Ngwe Lwin from the Myanmar Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association (BANCA) and supported by an international team of primatologists from FFI and the People Resources and Conservation Foundation (PRCF). The team discovered the new species, also called the Myanmar snub-nosed monkey, as part of the nationwide Myanmar Primate Conservation Programme in early 2010. Hunters reported the presence of a monkey species with prominent lips and wide upturned nostrils, which did not fit the description of any primate currently known from the A full press release can be downloaded here. area. It also has a relatively long tail, approxi- The paper describing the new species is published in the American Journal of Primatolmately 140 per cent of its body size. ogy. Frank Momberg, FFI’s Regional Programme -----------Development Coordinator, Asia Pacific, who Source: Geissmann. T, Lwin. G, Aung. S, interviewed local hunters during the field Naing Aung. T, Aung. Z M, Hla. T, Grindley. surveys suggests that the species is limited M, Momberg. F, “A new species of Snubto the Maw River area. The distribution area nosed monkey, Genus Rhinopithecus Milne2 is believed to be 270 km with an approxiEdwards, 1872 (Primates, Colobianae), mate population of 260-330 individuals. This From Northern Kachin State, Northeastern means it would be globally classified as Criti- Myanmar”, American Journal of Primatolcally Endangered by IUCN criteria for the ogy, Wiley-Blackwell, October 2010, DOI: level of threat of extinction. 10.1002/ajp.20894 As this new species of snub nosed monkey inhabits the Kachin State in northeastern

Picture: Martin Aveling_Fauna & Flora International. 16


The Babbler 36 - December 2010

iba news

BirdLife and Forestry Administration secure designation Sarus Crane reserve at Kampong Trach IBA

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n 12 November Cambodian Prime Minister His Excellency Hun Sen signed the sub-decree establishing Kampong Trach IBA as a Sarus Crane and other birds, management and conservation area under Cambodian law. BirdLife and Forestry Administration staff lead by Seng Kim Hout, had been working towards this end for nearly six years and its final designation as a protected area marks the climax of a process that became a struggle and battle of wits along the way. Local political and business interests tried to delay and thwart the process of designation by spreading misinformation about the landuse at the site and at one point an important government directive went missing on its inter-departmental journey. The site lies close a rapidly developing economic zone near the Vietnamese border. BirdLife and the Forestry Administration have been working at the site since 2004 on enforcement measures to prevent illegal bird killing and fishing. The site regularly holds over 200 Eastern Sarus Cranes and is one of only two remaining sites holding congregations of the globally threatened sub-species sharpi during the dry season. BirdLife and Forestry Administration secured the designation of a nearby site Boeung Prek Lapouv in 2007 (see The Babbler 22 & 23). The designation of the site under Cambodian law now affords the are some protection and recognition and paves the way for a larger investment of CEPF funds which were approved ahead of the notification. Map: Anlung Pring Management and Conservation Area for Sarus Crane and other birds in Kampong Trach. Â

Bou Vorsak, BirdLife International in Indochina – Cambodia Programme 17


The Babbler 36 - December 2010

iba news

Secret titanium mine threatens Cambodia’s most untouched forest

A

By Jeremy Hance

lthough the mining consortium, United Khmer Group, has been drawing up plans to build a massive titanium mine in a Cambodian protected forest for three years, the development did not become public knowledge until rural villagers came face-to-face with bulldozers and trucks building access roads. Reaction against the secret mine was swift as environmentalists feared for the impacts on wildlife and the rivers, local villagers saw a looming threat to their burgeoning ecotourism trade, and Cambodian newspapers began to question statements by the mining corporation. While the government has suspended the roadwork to look more closely at the mining plans, Cambodians

Cardamom Mountain Range waterfall popular with ecotourists. Photo: Wildlife Alliance

wait in uncertainty over the fate of one of most isolated and intact ecosystems in South-East Asia: the Cardamom Mountains. Spreading over some 2 million hectares (5 million acres) the Cardamom Mountains contain a startling biodiversity, including some 250 bird species, half of those recorded in Cambodia. Rare species such as Malayan sun bears, Indochinese tigers, pileated gibbons, and Siamese crocodiles inhabit the region. The largest population of Asian elephants in Cambodia, numbering about a hundred individuals, also roams this region. If built, the titanium mine will stretch some 15,000 to 20,000 hectares (37,000 to 50,000 acres) of the Cardamom Mountains. Construction of the pit will require deforestation and burial of vast amounts of waste; such waste often results in the destruction or pollution of important waterways. Michael Zwirn, head of Wildlife Alliance’s US operations, described the impact to wildlife in the region as “very serious”, adding that the mine would particularly imperil freshwater species, such as the Siamese crocodile, which is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List. In addition, the mine will sit right in the middle of an elephant migration route, endangering a quarter of Cambodia’s wild elephants.

Map of mining area. Photo: Wildlife Alliance

For locals the announcement of a mine in their backyard could not come at a worse time. The village of Chi Phat has spent years developing sustainable eco-tourism in the region. Many of the locals have left off poaching and logging for tourism and their efforts had begun to pay off: Lonely Planet, one of the most recognized travel guide companies in the world, named the area, known also as the Koh Kong Conservation Corridor, among the “World’s Top 10 Regions for 2010”. Villagers are currently working with Wildlife Alliance on a new lodge to attract even more tourists to the once little-visited site. The conservation organization has spent over half a million US dollars to build an

eco-tourism base in the area. According to Zwirn, the town of Chi Phat is “almost universally opposed to the mine” since “communities have staked their economic development on environmentally friendly tourism”. Seven hundred and sixtysix villagers, including the village chief, have already signed a petition against the mine for Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen. In face of opposition it has become increasingly unclear as to the status of the mine. Zwirn says that in Cambodian “ministries have sent very contradictory signals”. 18


The Babbler 36 - December 2010

Secret titanium mine.... (cont.)

“This is a perfect example of unplanned and uncoordinated development,” Suwanna Gauntlett, CEO of Wildlife Alliance

iba news “It’s not clear who’s making some of these decisions, and it’s not even clear what some of these decisions are. It’s not clear how the process is being made.”

mined for titanium production, in the area. Chea Chet has stated that United Khmer Group expects to pull up 120 million tonnes. Yet, Wildlife Alliance counters that the area was explored by another mining company, Zwirn adds that a significant portion of the Omsaura, which estimated that only 2.5 government appears to oppose the mine, but million tonnes would be available, about that may not be enough to stop it. According 2 percent of Chet’s claim. Zwrin says to reports the mine was initially approved by that the company is playing “classic bait the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, and switch”. By “vastly overstating the yet the ultimate decision rests with the [expected] revenues” United Khmer Group Ministry of Commerce. is using visions of riches to pressure the government for approval. “This is a perfect example of unplanned and uncoordinated development,” Suwanna Conservationists fear that if this titanium Gauntlett, CEO of Wildlife Alliance, said in mine is approved it will open the door to a Photo: Mongabay.com a statement. variety of industrial projects in the region ultimately devastating one of South-East • Green peafowl Pavo muticus: Not only the government, but the mining Asia’s last pristine forests. The Phnom Endangered corporation has also faced criticism. The Penh Post reports that if the titanium mine • Indochinese tiger Panthera tigris CEO of United Khmer Group, Chea Chet, is successfully approved, China is planning corbetti: Endangered stated that the mine would raise revenues of three to four more mines covering 100,000 • Malayan sun bear Helarctos US $ 2,500 per ton. However, the Phnom hectares (247,000 acres) in the Cardamom malayanus: Vulnerable Penh Post, which calls Chet’s assertion Mountains. • Pileated gibbon Hylobates pileatus: “frankly absurd”, reports that titanium Endangered has been selling for less than a third that • Siamese crocodile Crocodylus amount. Endangered species found in the Cardamom siamensis: Critically Endangered Mountains according to the IUCN Red List: • Smooth-coated otter Lutrogale “Even if the ultimate revenues are far less perspicillata: Vulnerable than they promised they are still making • Asian elephant Elephas maximums: • Southwest Chinese serow Capricornis money,” Zwirn explains. No matter what Endangered sumatraensis: Near Threatened. profits the company makes it’s not certain • Banteng Bos javanicus: Endangered those funds would stay in Cambodia: Zwirn • Burmese python Python molurus: -------------says that the project is being backed by Near Threatened Source: Mongabay.com Vietnamese and Chinese interests, but the • Clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa: company has refused to disclose the names Vulnerable of the private investors involved in the project. • Dhole Cuon alpinus: Endangered • Frog-faced softshell turtle Pelochelys In addition, questions have been raised as to cantorii: Endangered the amount of ilmenite, which is the mineral • Gaur Bos gaurus: Vulnerable 19


The Babbler 36 - December 2010

iba news

Road construction threatens Bach Ma National Park

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CM CITY — Scientists warn that ongoing construction work in Bach Ma forest in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue is threatening the ecosystem, including the habitats of dozens of endangered animals and plants, and reducing forest cover. The construction in Bach Ma National Park – of a road from the gate to the top of the 1,444 m Bach Ma Mountain – will change natural habitats because of the use of dynamite, they said. “Wild animals are extremely vulnerable to explosions,” Pham Khac Lieu of the Hue University of Sciences said. The construction in the 37,487 ha park began in August last year and it is expected to finish in 2012, said Huynh Van Keo, the park’s director.

Bach Ma mountain. Photo: www.companiontravel.com.vn

Bach Ma Mountain Range, which is covered in thick clouds all year round, is renowned for its cool weather and the French built resort there. It has been even more attractive to scientists due to its rich ecology, which includes 1,493 animal and 2,147 plant species. Of them, 68 animals and 86 plants are listed as endangered in the Vietnam Red Book while there is a group of plants whose scientific names end in bachmaensis that are found and nowhere else in the world. Stone is mined for construction, and trees, many of them a century old and 40cm diameter, are logged to make way for the road. Many trucks can be seen transporting the stone and the sounds of chain saws echos through the forest. But Keo justified both the mining and logging by saying it is hard to carry construction materials up from the plains and cutting down the trees is unavoidable for creating space. Prof Le Van Thang of Hue University Academy said using explosives may be the only way to mine rocks but the explosions must be done in a controlled manner to reduce noise and shock. Lieu of the Hue University of Sciences said: “The park is ecologically more important than other parks and reserves in the country and tourism here should be selective, avoiding mass tourism.” Local residents are worried the construction is not being done in a sustainable manner. Nguyen Van Dung, chief master of the Nghia Dung Martial Art Club, said the builders are

Trees are logged at Bach Ma National Park to make way for constructions of a road. — VNS Photo Thai Loc

blocking the flow of water by building dykes and embankments unlike the French who had used small canals and pipes. As a result, the road faces the risk of being washed away in the rainy season, meaning repeated construction in the future, he warned. — VNS

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The Babbler 36 - December 2010

Rarest of the rare

Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey

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he unusual and mysterious Tonkin snub-nosed monkey Rhinopithecus avunculus is one of the 25 most endangered species of primate in the world. It is only found in Vietnam (although may yet turn-up in China) and was believed extinct until its rediscovery in the early 1990s. There are believed to be fewer than 200 Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys remaining in the world. They are Vietnam’s largest primate species and have a very distinctive look that is almost comical due to the upturned nose, tufted ears, pale blue rimmed eyes and thick, pink lips. They have different calls including a loud hiccough-like alarm call. The photographs shown here were taken during a recent site visit to Khau Ca Nature Reserve as part of a routine site management visit under Fauna and Flora International’s CEPF project. The main long-term threat to this, the largest remaining Tonkin snub-nosed monkey population is the limited area of the forest, which being completely isolated prevents re-colonization of adjacent forest areas. This large population is also vulnerable to a single catastrophic hunting event. Surveys have highlighted several other potential threats to the species and its habitat locally, including illegal logging, exploitation of a range of non-timber forest products, shifting cultivation, fuelwood collection and grazing of livestock in the forest.

--------Source: Fauna and Flora International and Jonathan C. Eames Photos: Jonathan C. Eames

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The Babbler 36 - December 2010

CEPF-RIT Updates

Project updates PROJECT UPDATeS

Tran Thanh Huong. CEPF-RIT Administrator With thanks to all grantees who provided information for this update

Last call for Letters of Inquiry (LoIs) in Indo-Burma

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n 16 August 2010, the third call for proposals was made with a deadline of 30 September 2010. This call for LoIs covered the four countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam, and addressed gaps in the current CEPF investment portfolio. Under this call, preference will be given to projects that demonstrate significant co-financing and a leading role for local civil society organizations. Also, applications that address priorities identified in National Tiger Recovery Programmes are particularly encouraged. At the closing date for this call, 64 LoIs from 44 national and international civil society organisations had been received. Fifty nine percent (38 LoIs) of those were for small grants (US$20,000 and less), with forty five percent of applications for Vietnam (29 LoIs) and five multi-country or regional proposals. All eligible LoIs were circulated for internal and external review. After eight weeks, 39 applications were rejected due to late submission or ineligibility. Fourteen small grant applications were asked to revise LoIs for further consideration and 11 large grant applications were asked to revise LoI and submit full proposals.

26

26

38

38

National NGOs

Small grant applications

International NGOs

Large grants applications

35 30

7

25

Large grant applications Small grant applications

20 15

8 22

10 5

6 9

6

0 Cambodia

Laos

1 0

4 1

Thailand

Region

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he Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (www.cepf.net) is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation. CEPF began a $9.5 million five year investment plan in Indochina in July 2008, in partnershipwith BirdLife International, who provide the Regional Implementation Team (www.birdlifeindochina.org/ cepf). As the RIT in Indochina, BirdLife International will: raise awareness of CEPF; solicit grant applications and assist organisations to make applications; review applications; give small grants and jointly make decisions with CEPF on large grants; and monitor and evaluate progress with the investment strategy.

Vietnam

Numbers of LoIs submitted per country

22


The Babbler 36 - December 2010

PROJECT UPDATeS

CEPF-RIT Updates Approved small-grant LoIs

The 14 projects listed below have been approved pending revision Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

14

Proponent

Requested Amount ($)

7 months

19,988.00

KH

1.1

1 year

19,991

KH

1.1

1 year

19,980.00

KH

2.1

1 year

20,000.00

KH

1.1

1 year

19,123.00

KH

1.1

19,083.00

KH

1.1

1 year

19,950.00

LA

1.5

6-8 months

20,000.00

VN

1.1

1 year

19,800.00

VN

1.1

1 year

18,900.00

VN

1.5

1 year

20,000.00

VN

1.1

Analyzing trade dynamics and catalyzing enforcement responses towards eliminating the illegal trade in CEPF priority species in Southern Vietnam

1.5 years

19,632.00

VN

3.3

Assessing the conservation status of Edwards’s Pheasant

1 year

6 months

19,960.00

VN

1.1

Project title

Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB) (1)

Distribution, population and habitat extent of Bengal Florican in Cambodia: A re-assessment after 7 years

Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB) (2)

Ecology and conservation of Green Peafowl Pavo muticus in Cambodia

Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) Sam Veasna Center for Wildlife Conservation (SVC)

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) -Cambodia World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Cambodia Lao Wildlife Conservation Association (LaoWCA)

Empowerment and capacity building of local community in protection and conservation of Sekong River IBA through Application of locally based monitoring methods

Conservation of Black-shanked Douc through community-based ecotourism Preventing poisoning of Cambodia’s Vultures

Identification of Wild Water Buffalo presence in Mondulkiri Protected Forest, eastern Cambodia

Participatory survey, assessment, and conservation of Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus) in Dong Khanthung protected area, the south-western Lao PDR

ArcCona Ecological Consulting (ArcCona)

Workshop on the Conservation of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper in Hanoi, Vietnam

Center of Environment and Rural Development (CERD), Vinh University-

Second meeting of the Saola Working Group in Vietnam

Quang Tri Center of Education and Consultancy on Surveys for additional information of Edwards's Pheasant Agriculture and Rural Development (Lophura edwardsi) in Dakrong Nature Reserve, Quang Tri Russian Society for Conservation and Studies of Birds (BirdsRussia)

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) -Vietnam World Pheasant Association (WPA)

World Pheasant Association (WPA)

Main Investment Priority

Project Duration

Conservation planning for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper population of Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Conservation of Green Peafowl at key sites in Vietnam

1.5 years

20,000.00

Country

VN

1.5

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The Babbler 36 - December 2010

PROJECT UPDATeS

CEPF-RIT Updates New small grants

New large grants

The Cambodian Rural Development Team (www.crdt.org.kh) was granted over US$200,000 for a project entitled “Sustainable Livelihoods for Mekong Biodiversity and Critical Wetland Resource The Cambodian Institute for Research and Rural Conservation in Cambodia” $204,400. The grantee is Development (CIRD) received nearly US$20,000 to going to conserve the ‘Central Section’ of the Mekong increase efforts to conserve an important Indochinese mainstream in Cambodia by reducing local people’s non-breeding site for Sarus Crane at Kampong Trach reliance on natural resources and empowering Wetland Important Bird Area in the lower Mekong Delta, Kampot Province, Cambodia, by strengthening communities to implement site-based conservation measures; help at least 500 households to adopt the capacity of local community on improved and sustainable agricultural production, and conducting the alternative livelihoods and increase their disposable incomes; and link these benefits to conservation feasibility study for introduction and implementation actions and build local capacity for conservation by of a ‘Wildlife-friendly’ produce scheme in this site. The project started since November 2010 and will end establishing community-based organizations and environmental action groups. in late December 2011. In this quarter, two more small grants and four large grants were approved.

The Chamroien Chiet Khmer (CCK) received a small grant implement collective local actions for the conservation of non-breeding Indochinese population of Sarus Crane and other globally threatened species at Boeung Prek Lapouv Management and Conservation Area, Takeo Province, Cambodia. Activities would include raising awareness of the site’s importance and supporting legal framework, strengthening the capacity of local community for conservation activities, and improving the local livelihoods.

The World Wide Fund For Nature (www.panda. org) received nearly US$600,000 to protect the ‘Central Section’ of the Mekong mainstream in Cambodia by designating key habitats as a Special Management Site, and establishing conservation management structures and capacity. They also strengthen community capacity to manage natural resources, and develop sustainable alternative livelihoods that contribute to biodiversity protection and poverty reduction, such as direct payments to local people for protection of turtle and waterbird nests. The priority population of one of the most mysterious mammal in the world, Saola become the

target species in a large project (US$245,000) granted to the Wildlife Conservation Society (www.wcs.org). The project is expected to secure core populations of Saola and other globally threatened and endemic species of the Annamite mountains by implementing intensive conservation management in targeted areas of eastern Bolikhamxay province, Lao PDR, building a constituency for Saola conservation at the village level, and establishing a foundation of management capacity and financial support to sustain Saola protection activities in the targeted areas. At last, nearly US$240,000 was granted to the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (www.wwt.org.uk) to fully establish and conserve Boeung Prek Lapouv and Kampong Trach: two key protected areas for Sarus Crane, representative of the lower Mekong floodplain wetlands. The project will contribute to their longterm sustainable management by developing and revising site management plans, training and supporting local conservation groups, piloting longterm financing mechanisms, and generating increased support among local people for site conservation. Up to date, after over two and a half years into a five-year program of CEPF investment in the IndoBurma Hotspot, 32 large grants and 38 small grants have been made in the region. In total, more than $US 7.9 million of grants has now been contracted. List of funded projects and map of project site is available here.

Background photo: Sarus crane family Robert van Zalinge

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Project updates PROJECT UPDATeS

CEPF-RIT Updates Projects in Cambodia

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ave Cambodia’s Wildlife (www.cambodiaswildlife. org): “Community Empowerment for Biodiversity Conservation along Sesan and Srepok Rivers (3S Rivers) of Mekong Basin” In this quarter, a survey to assess the awareness of community people on biodiversity conservation was conducted by an external evaluation team. Approximately 214 people, of which 108 are women were selected for individual interview and 81 people including 21 women were selected for focus group discussion. The interviewees are including 3S community network members, villagers, teachers and monks. This survey has been using as baseline of the project. Six training workshops on environment concept and biodiversity conservation were conducted in all target communes: Ta Lao, Chey Oddom, Sre Angrong, Serei Mongkul, Taveng Leu and Taveng Krom. Ninety six participants including 29 women from different sectors

The People, Resources, and Conservation Foundation (PRCF) (www.prcfoundation.org) Focused Protection for White-shouldered Ibis and Giant Ibis in Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary, Cambodia

contain globally significant populations of these two species, focused research and conservation action has now been put into place for the first time. Since January 2010 the People Resources and Conservation Foundation (PRCF), in association with Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary, BirdLife Cambodia and the University of East Anglia, has Once widespread throughout Southeast Asia, Giant Ibis (Thaumatibis gigantea) and White-shouldered Ibis (Pseudibis been expanding knowledge of the status of these species in davisoni) are now considered Critically Endangered and the sanctuary and conducting focused protection with local residents at critical sites. Here is an update on progress. restricted to the dry forests of north-eastern Cambodia. Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary protects over 250,000 hectares of this habitat, and is known to provide refuge for both Photo: Hugh Wright/UEA species. Since the sanctuary was declared a protected area in 1993, the status of these species has remained largely unknown. Presence of Giant Ibis was confirmed in early 2009; so too was the first breeding recording of White-shouldered Ibis, and flocks exceeding 30 birds. Given the site’s potential to attended the training. The training were aiming at building people’s awareness on the importance and benefits of riverine ecosystem and natural resource management, as well as involving people in the management process. A training manual was delivered to participants and participatory approach was applied at the training. Participants were encouraged to brainstorm, discuss in groups and doing role play. As part of the project, SCW’s partner, 3S Protection Network (3SPN) conducted an one day training workshop on Good Governance and Advocacy in four target districts (Koun Mom, Lumphat, Taveng and Andong Meas). In total, 78 people with 27 women attended the workshop.

Srepok River, Cambodia. Photo: Save Cambodia’s Wildlife

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project news

CEPF-RIT Updates

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OH KAO des Tigres et des Hommes (www.pohkao.org): “Wildlife–Human Friendly Landscape in Northeast Cambodia: Agricultural Development and Awareness for Forest and Wildlife Protection in a Key Biodiversity Area in Northeast Cambodia.” With CEPF funding, POH KAO aims to improve the livelihoods of 5 ethnic’ minorities to mitigate biodiversity loss in 55,000 ha of pristine forest buffering the Virachey National Park in North east Cambodia.

After a year of activities of securing commitment in a pilot village and an inception phase with 4 additional communities impacting the site, results of

patrolling operated by the Forestry Administration rangers have revealed no infraction on wildlife poaching but logging still occurred driven by outsider traders. Today, military police have joined the patrolling team of the Forestry Administration. Results of several biodiversity surveys led by CI in past months have enriched information on the biodiversity of the area. Nomascus annamensis, is estimated at some 3,000 individuals, camera traps have captured the Critically Endangered Giant Ibis Thaumatibis gigantea, Red-shanked douc langur Pygathrix nemaeus, Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus, Clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa. To date, after one year of CEPF investment into a three-year programme all activities granted by CEPF have been already completed. Read full article. Photos: POH KAO des Tigres et des Hommes

Chicken raising secures self-sufficient food to combat bush meat hunting

A biodivesity awareness programme at school with dedicated lessons on endangered species

Projects in Laos

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orld Wide Fund for Nature (www. panda.org/laos) : “Integrated Eld’s Deer Project, Piloting Integrated Spatial Development Planning as a Tool for Reconciling Conservation and Development Objectives for Forests in Lao PDR” WWF worked primarily with three target villages, which have the biggest populations of Eld’s deer, to protect the species from poaching. Each village established a patrol team of 14 people from different sectors such as local villager, militia, police, foresters and teachers. Those teams are responsible for patrolling twice per month within the village management boundaries. WWF, Provincial and District Agriculture and Forestry Offices (PAFO and DAFO) provide support in planning and preparing logistics as well as take part in such patrolling and monitoring once a month in the field. In December 2010, 93,000 ha of forested area has been designated as the Eld’s Deer Sanctuary. However, the boundary demarcation for this sanctuary has not yet been completed which makes it difficult for patrolling teams to enforce the law and to regulate. To improve this situation, WWF has supported the production of 44 large and 50 small metal signs, 100 wooden signs, and then worked with villagers, PAFO and DAFO to set up

Posting signs in the deer sanctuary. Photo: WWF

these signs around the border and in the core zone of the sanctuary, where hunting and cutting are not permitted. These signs inform villagers about the banning on deer hunting and habitat destruction Since early December, WWF supported and worked with target villages to create a water reservoir in the key habitat of the deer to provide sufficient drinking water for the animals in dry season. Based on field assessment, we found that those habitats in such three village (Ban Sanamxai, Ban Nongsonghong and Ban Tangvainam) are dominated by dry dipterocarp forest. Lacking of drinking water inside key habitat may put the deer at high risk of being hunted by humans because the deer have to go beyond the boundary of the sanctuary in searching for water.

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The Babbler 36 - December 2010

CEPF-RIT Updates

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lefantAsia (www.elefantasia.org): “Securing and protecting Asian elephant populations in Laos through the microchipping of core populations.” ElefantAsia’s two-year long project has now reached its halfway point. Beginning in January 2010, ElefantAsia’s main activity is to microchip all domesticated elephants in Laos. This endeavours to bring Laos in line with internationally recognised standards of domesticated elephant conservation and management. The project also trains and educates government officials, mahouts and other stakeholders on illegal smuggling and conservation measures. To date the project has exceeded expectations. ElefantAsia is very pleased to announce that November 2010 saw the 250th domesticated elephant in Laos microchipped. This is over half the entire remaining Lao domesticated elephant population. Dr Emma Zalcman was the veterinarian who had the honour of microchipping the

Another happy customer. Dr Emma Zalcman and mahout after microchipping and treating one of Lao’s domesticated elephants. Champassak, November 2010. Photo: ElefantAsia

fortunate 250th elephant. Once microchipped, all elephant data including a photo of the individual elephant is entered into the CEPFfunded domesticated elephant registration database. The database is the first of its kind in Laos and is managed by ElefantAsia. An upcoming event for ElefantAsia is the CEPF-funded human elephant conflict and anti-smuggling conference. Held over two days this conference will train local stakeholders such as government forestry and livestock officials on the perils of illegally-trafficking elephants out of Laos and the serious impacts HEC, poaching and inadequate reproduction rates is having on both wild and domesticated elephant populations. Attendees also include stakeholders from INGOs in Laos working with wild elephant populations, including WWF, WCS and IUCN. With many Asian elephant experts attending from numerous nations, Laos hopes to learn some valuable lessons and solutions from international case studies. The conference will be held in Vientiane on the 16th and 17th of February 2011, just days before the annual Lao Elephant Festival. Please contact Mr Sebastien Duffillot at info@ elefantasia.org if you would like to learn more about this conference. With 250 domesticated elephants now microchipped and accurately recorded, ElefantAsia has identified several potential breeding partners living in the same region as one another. With elephant reproductive knowledge still poor within the mahout community, ElefantAsia has held several oestrus detection training sessions in the Champassak Province. Traditionally taking young elephants from the wild, mahouts never had to be skilled in elephant reproduction behaviour or techniques. ElefantAsia’s Mobile Veterinary team trains mahouts in detecting oestrus through visual signs their cow may display while on heat. Results have varied, with some cows on heat, but bulls not entirely sure how to behave when encountered with an ovulating cow! This is mainly due to the bulls in training being just a little too young – at 21 & 22, they understood what was going on but not entirely

PROJECT UPDATeS

Smiling on this inside. This veteran elephant owner receives his elephant first aid kit after taking his elephant to be microchipped and treated by ElefantAsia staff. Photo: ElefantAsia

sure of what to do! Also, the altered social structure played a role in their inexperience. With no older bulls available to demonstrate the jungle rumba, the adolescent males were more than a little confused. But we are confident that within five or six years they will grow out of this nervousness to become successful breeder bulls. Most mahouts have been extremely interested in learning about oestrus detection, as they know that their family’s future income is dependent on having a young elephant to replace their current elephant once it’s too old to work. Many more oestrus-detection training sessions are planned for the future, and ElefantAsia hopes to have many calves born out of this project. The future of the project is to continue microchipping all domesticated elephants, thus having a fully comprehensive list of all Lao’s domesticated elephants. Training of stakeholders in wild and domesticated elephant conservation matters remains a high priority, and will be regularly undertaken.

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Project updates PROJECT UPDATeS

CEPF-RIT Updates with the winner coming home in 2’27”, Mr Nguyen Quoc Quan from Nghe Son village, Son Tay district. With over 100 spectators for the event everybody is looking forward to he Asian Turtle Programme (ATP) a second chance to shine in the 2010 golden of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (CZS) ores race. (www.clevelandzoosociety.org): “Awareness Prior to the boat race on the 22nd October and Research Conservation Program for a school programme was held for 85 students Swinhoe’s Soft-Shell Turtle in Vietnam” from three classes in Kim Son Secondary School. A special Hoan Kiem Turtle lesson The first annual boat race to compete for plan has been developed to help students the “Golden Ores” was held on Dong Mo A new awareness poster for the critically learn about the unique animals they live so Lake, Son Tay District, Hanoi on the 23rd endangered Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle (Rafetus near. The school program and an additional of October 2010. The large lake measuring swinhoei) has been completed and distributed community meeting have also been 1,400 hectares has the only known wild during interview surveys throughout northern completed in Thanh Hoa Province at a second Vietnam conducted by the ATP searching for population of the critically Endangered additional animals and habitat. ATP site the team are focusing on. Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) Winning smile after the race. Photo: Tim In addition to awareness activities of which only four animals are currently seen basking on a small island in the lake. McCormack/ATP undertaken at Dong Mo Lake monitoring and known globally. More famously known in local women participated in the race, surveys have continued. During 2010 the Vietnam as the Hoan Kiem Turtle for the sprinting the 300 m course in traditional local team has observed the large softshells giant animal which still inhabits Hoan Kiem fishing boats rowed using their feet. In a close on four occasions photographing twice. On Lake in central Hanoi. final heat five competitors were closely tied the 5th of December a large softshell was During the race 32 local fishermen and

Projects in Vietnam

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C

entre for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (www.cres.edu. vn): “Identifying Priority Populations and Reviewing Current Known Distributions for Threatened Bat and Turtle Species in Northern and Central Vietnam” During interview surveys in Thanh Hoa province from the 20-27th of September 2010 by the Asian Turtle Programme (ATP) field officer, Pham Van Thong good information was collected for the Indochinese Box Turtle (Cuora galbinifrons). While only a single shell of the Critically Endangered turtle was observed in the trade three districts (Quan

Hoa, Ba Thuoc and Muong Lat) had strong information for the species still occurring in the area. With Pu Huong and Pu Luong Nature Reserves both within the area these may become a focus for future field surveys during 2011. In addition, samples collected from geographically distinct populations of Four-eyed Turtle (Sacalia quadriocellata) in Vietnam have been sequenced. The DNA data will be analyzed to identify the level of genetic diversity of this species. Genetically divergent populations should be highlighted in future conservation efforts.

Pu Hu Nature Reserve, Thanh Hoa Province. Photo: Pham Van Thong/ATP

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The Babbler 36 - December 2010

PROJECT UPDATeS

CEPF-RIT Updates were apparently caught locally. This range restricted endemic is a global priority for conservation listed amongst the top 25 most endangered tortoise and freshwater turtles in the world by the Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF). Most of the information collected by the teams to dates indicates this species was most abundant in lowland wetland areas but has now largely disappeared throughout its range. Having already received training in community engagement and school programmes by Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) in February awareness activities have also commenced. Since

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Cyclemys tcheponensis observed in Kon Tum Province. Photo: Nguyen Van Luc/ATP

he Asian Turtle Programme (ATP) of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (CZS) (www.clevelandzoosociety.org): “Research and Conservation Action for Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles in Indo-Burma” During 2010 efforts have focused on the central highlands and interviews completed throughout Kon Tum and Gia Lai Provinces. These surveys have focused on collecting local hunting and trade data to identify potential habitat for Critically Endangered and endemic turtle species potentially occurring in the provinces including three endemic, the Vietnamese Pond Turtle (Mauremys annamensis), Bourret’s Box Turtle (Cuora bourreti) and the Lesser Indochinese Box Turtle (Cuora picturata). During September and November 2010 all eight districts of Kon Tum Province were visited and 74 interviews conducted

with 40 field records of six species observed including Big Headed Turtles (Platysternon megacephalum), Impressed Tortoise (Manouria impressa) and Elongated Tortoise (Indotestudo elongata) which are all protected under Decree 32. Although no information was found for the Vietnamese Pond Turtle or Bourret’s Box Turtle in the province it appears to be an significant area for two species of conservation importance, the Big Headed Turtle and Impressed Tortoise. Interviews have also been completed in Gia Lai Province, undertaken from December 2009 to January 2010 and again in August 2010 to cover 16 districts. In Gia Lai a great deal of information was collected with 62 turtles of eight species observed during 151 interviews. Most significant was the observation of 26 Vietnamese Pond Turtles (Mauremys annamensis) some of which

A local man was interviewed at the site. Photo: Nguyen Thu Thuy/ATP

July the team have conducted community meetings and school programs in Quang Nam and Quang Ngai province for 169 villagers and 142 school pupils around priority areas identified for the Vietnamese Pond Turtle.

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ouc Langur Foundation (www.douclangur.org): “The Place of the Douc Langur at Son Tra Nature Reserve: Reconciling Conservation with Development” The DLF is excited to announce the discovery of a new douc variety at Chu Mom Ray National Park. The new douc variety was discovered during the second of two surveys that was conducted by the DLF at Chu Mom Ray National Park in 2010. The entire douc population is under considerable stress from poaching, hunting and illegal trade activities. During this recent survey, our team removed hundreds of traps, some large enough to entrap gaurs. Another good news: the infant douc that we confiscated in August at son Tra Nature Reserve is doing well at the Sai Gon Zoo. Here is a picture of the head veterinarian caring for the infant. DLF.

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The Babbler 36 - December 2010

to share experiences in setting up and managing fishing associations at grassroot level. They also had opportunities to visit the Centre of Sciences and Humanities –Hue University, listening to the centre’s lessons in managing a project in Tam Giang lagoon and the model of co-management being applied in Vinh Phu commune. Following the field visit and based on the results of a socio-economic assessment conducted in Na Hang Town in August Working on the draft regulations. Photo: Warecod 2010, the task force, with strong support from WARECOD project officers and entre for Water Resource Conservation consultants, drafted a set of regulations on and Development (www.warecod.org. management, exploitation and protection vn): “Conservation of Aquatic Resources of freshwater resources in Tuyen Quang in Northern Vietnam through Promotion of reservoir. In the coming time, WARECOD Community Co-Management ” will organise community consultation meetings in Na Hang town to collect Over seven days of September, the taskforce communities’ comments and ideas on the group, which consists of representatives from draft regulations. Later, if such documents local fishermen and authorities, were taken are approved by local authorities, they will on an exchange visit to Thua Thien Hue be applied in eight communes surrounding Province, central Vietnam. The group worked the reservoir in Na Hang district. with the Provincial Department of Capture Fisheries and Fisheries Resource Protection and some commune Fishing Associations

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Missouri Botanical Garden (www.mobot.org) “Status and Distribution of Globally Threatened Plant Species in Indochina”

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four day Red Listing workshop (1-4 December 2010) was organised by the and the International Cooperation Department of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) in Hanoi. The workshop marks the mid-point milestone of the threeyear project supported by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF). The objectives of the workshop are to assess the conservation status and distribution of globally threatened plant species in Indochina; to train botanists from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand in the application of the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria,; to gain practical experience in using the IUCN’s species database; and to establish a plant specialist group for Indochina with members from all of the key botanical institutions in the region.

PROJECT UPDATeS

CEPF-RIT Updates

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ducation for Nature-Vietnam (www. envietnam.org): “Strengthening Public Participation in Tackling the Wildlife Trade in Vietnam” The three most active volunteers from the ENV’s Wildlife Protection Volunteer Network received recognition at ENV’s Annual Wildlife Protection Network Volunteer Meeting held from November 19-21. ENV’s Wildlife Protection Volunteer Network was introduced in 2007 to complement the work of its Wildlife Crime Unit (WCU) and encourage more direct involvement from the public. The network now has about 2,700 members located throughout Vietnam, mainly concentrated in urban centers. ENV’s volunteers assist by monitoring business establishments to ensure that owners remain in compliance with the law after enforcement measures have been taken, as well as report new crimes that they discover along the way.

The best volunteer awarded by Nguyen Dinh Xuan, a Vietnam National Assembly member. Photo: ENV

In addition to attending an awards ceremony hosted at the Press Club in Hanoi, the group of active volunteers participated in three days of training which included special segments on environmental communication, time management, and species identification. Participants also contributed their ideas on the larger issue of tackling the illegal wildlife trade and discussed ways to improve ENV’s national Wildlife Protection Network.

Subsequently, on 6-8 December, the Second Symposium of the Flore du Cambodge, du Laos et du Vietnam took place in Hanoi (as photo). The organization of this symposium is one of the positive outcomes of the small grant from CEPF that MBG received in November 2008. The second symposium has a larger attendance with a big representation of Thai botanists, as compared to the first symposium held in Phnom Penh in December 2008. A number of papers and posters discussed plant conservation in the region. Photo: Second Symposium of the Flore du Cambodge, du Laos et du Vietnam/MBG

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The Babbler 36 - December 2010

PROJECT UPDATeS

Evaluating, consolidating and sustaining conservation of key sites in the Lower Mekong

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ith the support of MacArthur Foundation, BirdLife International in Indochina held a series of workshops to review approaches used for sitebased conservation in the Lower Mekong. The workshops were held in Phnom Penh, Hanoi and Vientiane for a day each in the last two weeks of November, and provided altogether 50 managers, planners and implementers from local and international, governmental and non-governmental conservation organizations, an opportunity to share their experiences and insights . The participants included MacArthur and CEPF grantees as well as other experienced conservationists. The objective of the workshops was to come to a shared understanding of factors that contribute to effective site-based conservation, and how project approaches are responding to trends in the operating environment. An additional focus was on monitoring and evaluation

Review workshop in Vietnam. Photo: Tran Thanh Huong

systems, as effective monitoring and evaluation is required to assess effectiveness of approaches. Through presentations and group discussion, the 50 participants tackled these difficult issues with dedication and enthusiasm. The quality of participation was lent an urgency by the knowledge, clearly expressed by several participants, that the next twenty or thirty years will be critical ones for species conservation in the lower Mekong. Current economic development trends in the region are pressuring important biodiversity sites with unprecedented speed and scope, including development of hydropower, regional roads, agribusiness plantations and industrial mining. Participants strongly felt that is up to conservation organizations to save sites and species, while at the same time helping relevant government agencies and private sector build up the capacity and political will to find a healthy balance between conserving the environment and ‘mining’ economic natural resources. The fear in the room in all three workshops was that the economic incentives are too great, and the capacities to respond with sustainable regional development plans unable to keep pace. Alluding to the biblical story of Noah, one participant expressed the current challenge as: “Turn your parks into arks and get ready for 30 days of rain”. In discussing approaches to site-based conservation, whether the site is a formal or informally protected area, the critical aspect is to ensure that all relevant stakeholders--whether community, government, economic interests or civil society---are involved in its protection and participate in a management board or forum. Innovative approaches might include buying land rights or in some other way accessing concessions to manage critical biodiversity areas privately, such as for example a logging concession. Discussions around monitoring and evaluation concluded

that species indicator monitoring can be expensive and require sustained effort over time to show meaningful results, while not all organizations have the financial or resource capacity to achieve this. Some conservation organizations use monitoring tools which help track hunting and other threats (such as MIST) to adapt their protection approach, while others use Management Effectiveness Tracking Tools (METT) as required by GEF and the WB. Medium-sized projects and smaller organizations especially might benefit from simple and usable frameworks that measure trends, the state of the environment, and how the project responds to trends, to be able validate (and compare) conservation achievements. The workshops are part of a MacArthur-supported BirdLife-implemented project entitled ‘Evaluating, consolidating and sustaining conservation of key sites in the Lower Mekong.’ The workshop results will be incorporated into a report assessing approaches to site-based conservation. The project will also generate recommendations regarding m&e after testing and documenting a framework for monitoring and evaluation early this year. For more information please contact Karin Eberhardt at karin. eberhardt@gmail.com and and/or Jonathan Eames at eames@birdlife.org.vn. Karin Eberhardt BirdLife Consultant

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ReviewS

Enhancing taxonomic capacity to underpin tropical biodiversity conservation (SE Asia)

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s part of this Harriosn Institute project a workshop was hosted by the Faculty of Science, Prince of Songkla University in Hat Yai, Thailand on 21 and 22 October 2010. The meeting was well attended by delegates from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, UK, Vietnam and even Zambia. Jonathan C. Eames gave a presentation entitled Using ornithological research to guide conservation investment which drew on BirdLife’s experiences in Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam. Delegates attending also included Dr Swen Renner, past member of BirdLife staff, and longtime Birdlife associate, Prof. Philip D Round from Mahidol University Thailand. For further project detials please contact Dr. Paul Bates at harrisoninstitute@btinternet. com. Many thanks to Associate Professor Dr. Chutamas Satasook, Dean of Science, Prince of Songkla University and her staff and students for organising and hosting such an interesting event.ˆ Photos: Harrison Institute

The Tiger: Soul of India

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By Valmik Thapar

rom time immemorial, the tiger, India’s national animal, has been represented in various art forms. Valmik Thapar delves deep into the cult of the tiger to show how the animal resides in the very soul of the country’s cultural beliefs, myths, and legends. Exploring the close relationship between man and tiger forged over thousands of years, this book reveals almost every facet of this amazing animal: from 10,000-year-old cave paintings in Madhya Pradesh to Mohenjodaro seals, Mughal miniature paintings, and contemporary art to wild tigers today. Focusing on various depictions of the animal—on stone, wood, metal, paper, and more—Thapar reveals how the tiger was vital to the life of people across India. With close to 250 photographs showcasing the tiger in various art forms, this book for the first time enables the pursuit of research in different cultural facets of tiger imagery. Alongside art forms, there are spectacular pictures of wild tigers—the source of inspiration for countless generations. A testimony to the power and beauty of this majestic animal, this book reveals everything you ever wanted to know about the cultural history of the tiger from a man who spent 35 years following the tiger’s footsteps. ISBN - 9780198069690
 Oxford University Press, New Delhi 2011 (sic.) 32


The Babbler 36 - December 2010

The report says while these discoveries highlight the Greater Mekong’s immense biodiversity it also pinpoints the fragility of this region’s diverse habitats and species. The likely local extinction of the Javan rhino in Vietnam is one tragic indicator of the decline of biodiversity in recent times. Other new species standouts include five new mammal species, two bats and three shrews, a poisonous pit viper and an entirely new genus of fang-less snake. How these new species were discovered in this region that includes Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the southern province of Yunnan in China is as bizarre as some of their traits.

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The report highlights the opportunity for governments of the Greater Mekong to use seven meter tall carnivorous plant, financing through the Global Environment a fish with vampire fangs, and a Facility (GEF), the global financing frog that sounds like a cricket are mechanism for the CBD, to leverage among 145 new species described last year in large-scale resources to conserve species, the Greater Mekong, reaffirming the region biodiversity and healthy ecosystems across as one of the most significant biological the region. hotspots on the planet ahead of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) At the CBD, WWF will promote in Nagoya, Japan. opportunities for the Global Environment Facility to provide financing for a transNew Blood: Greater Mekong new boundary programme in the Greater Mekong that recognizes the role of biodiversity and species discoveries 2009, reveals an healthy ecosystems. Read full report. average of three new species recorded by science each week including Asia’s only ------------bald songbird the Bare-faced bulbul and the Source: WWF Press release uniquely adapted Sucker-fish, which uses its body to sucker onto rocks in fast flowing waters to move upstream.

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ReviewS

he Big Cat Trade in Myanmar and Thailand report Director, William Schaedla, summarized the

documents black market sales of large wild felines. Live big cats, including endangered tigers and a rare Asiatic lion were observed in trade. Hundreds of tiger and leopard parts, representing over 400 individual animals, were also observed during nearly a decade of investigations in Myanmar and Thailand. The report is accompanied by a short documentary called Closing a Deadly Gateway that illustrates the illegal trade described in the report. The film shows interviews with poachers and alarming footage of butchered tigers.

problem. “The area is struggling with governance and tigers are easy money for everyone from mafia types to antigovernment opposition groups. Some of these players should be countered with direct enforcement actions. Others might be receptive to work through regional agreements and international bodies in order to address the problem.” Read full report. ------------Source: Traffic Press release

Findings point to a flourishing illegal trade in tigers and other wildlife through Myanmar that thrives despite national and international laws. The majority of this trade occurs in non-government controlled areas between northern Myanmar and southern China. The fact that these areas maintain their own governments not linked to Myanmar’s capital poses difficulty coordinating effective enforcement action. Tiger populations in the Greater Mekong— an area that includes Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam—have plummeted from an estimated 1,200 during the last Year of the Tiger in 1998 to about 350 today. TRAFFIC Southeast Asia

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lmost two hundred species of birds have become extinct in the past 400 years, and a similar number today are in imminent danger of following them. The world’s conservationists are leading the fight to prevent the demise of these remaining critically endangered birds, with a fair degree of success. This new book examines the process and issues concerning extinction - how and why it happens and what can be done about it. Whilst man is to blame for many of the causes, such as persecution and habitat loss, species have become extinct on a regular basis since life began.

guide to some of the rarest birds in existence, brought together by the maps showing where in the world you can find them. The book focuses on 50 captivating stories of the very rare, including remarkable discoveries of species new to science, rediscoveries of species not seen for centuries and ‘back from the brink of extinction’ successes like Seychelles Magpie-Robin and California Condor. Each species has its own mini-chapter and the book will be broken down into key groups of species, with the five most amazing tales of island endemics, five most bizarre cases of a bird becoming threatened, and so on. This is an accessible, readable and visually appealing take on a serious subject of threatened birds and possible extinctions - a topic that is constantly in the news due to increasing concerns over climate change and habitat destruction. The atlas format shows the global nature of the problem and brings together the many strands of the concerted bird conservation effort that is taking place on every continent. It also lends and element of accessibility to the reader as many of the species featured can be watched on birding tours these days. Dominic Couzens .Atlas of Rare Birds. New Holland Publishers. 2010 -------Source: www.nhbs.com

Review

After several thought-provoking introductory chapters, the book showcases about 20 species on the brink of extinction from around the world and describes the work that is being undertaken to save them. Some are success stories, but a few are not. This is a subject close to the hearts of all birders and ornithologists and this book, written by a team of leading conservationists, will strike a chord in most of them. Paul Donald, Nigel Collar, Stuart Marsden and Deborah J Pain. .Facing Extinction: The World’s Rarest Birds and the Race to Save Them. T & AD Poyser. 2010 -------Source: www.nhbs.com

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The Babbler 36 - December 2010

PROfile

Localising conservation in Vietnam People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) is a young not-for-profit organisation working on nature conservation. They are trying to use wide experience, varied skills and contagious motivation to help lead a community-based movement to preserve Vietnam’s natural heritage and promote sustainable development nationwide. We interviewed Trinh Le Nguyen (TLN), the founder of the organisation on the occasion of 6th year since its establishment.

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to candidates with long-term commitment, he Babbler - How did you found dedication, and strong field experience as the organisation? well as candidates from forest communities, TLN- PanNature started six years especially ethnic groups. ago, in 2004, by a small group of young Funding is another challenge that we, like Vietnamese, who had gained some experience most of other local organisations, have to working with international conservation face. organisations and projects. PanNature’s founders hoped to fill the The Babbler –After six years of gap in active participation of local nonoperations, you must be proud of some governmental organisations in the area PanNature’s achievements such as.... of natural resource management and TLN - Although being a young emerging conservation – the space that used to organisation, PanNature’s efforts, especially be dominated by state and international policy-focused work, have been recognised institutions. The challenge was to formulate by the public, our partners, and state agencies a purely Vietnamese nonprofit, which is in the process of revising or drafting some capable of creating positive changes and laws and policies. contribution towards better governance of the Our online news service website country’s natural resources. ThienNhien.Net has gained strong credentials Our approach evolved from solely among conservation community, government awareness and education then expanding agencies and the mainstream media. As a to a more holistic direction that combines trusted source, published articles and. field-based conservation initiatives, media In recent years, PanNature has expanded and communication, and policy research and our connection to regional level with different advocacy. networks. The Babbler- What difficulties did you and PanNature encounter and how did you overcome them? TLN - The biggest challenge for us was to build up a strong committed team within a limited financial capacity and organisation development experience. In the staff recruitment, we give more preference

The Babbler - Give me some information about ongoing projects that PanNature is doing.... TLN - PanNature has shifted from the conservation awareness and education focus to more inter-disciplinary and holistic approach in our programmes and activities. In 2009 and 2010, PanNature was

involved in policy initiatives to introduce and promote good governance and more transparency in natural resources sector through active participation in providing inputs and analysis of laws and legislation on protected area management, biodiversity conservation and livelihood needs, benefit sharing and co-management in special-use forest, river and watershed administration, mining and extractive industries, hydropower, environmental taxation, payment for environmental services and carbon finance mechanism, and litigation in environmental pollution disputes. These issues are also addressed by our communications and field-based interventions. For example, with a grant from CEPF, PanNature’s Communication Department is currently working with national and local journalists to monitor and bring up multi-facetted stories from the field to challenge the goals of balancing biodiversity conservation and economic development plans in the Northern Limestone Highland of Vietnam. Another long-term field intervention project that we’re implementing in Hang Kia – Pa Co Nature Reserve addresses the pressure on the protected area from local communities. The Babbler - What’s your view on Conservation in Vietnam? TLN -Personally, my view is that Vietnam

needs more active participation and concerns from domestic groups and the public to counter-balance the development policies and nature conservation. There should be more work on providing practical technical and policy solutions for leveraging development and conservation. PanNature hopes to contribute to more “weight” in the side of conservation in the development process of the country. At grass-root level, we believe that local communities taking part in conservation activities in parks and protected areas should be considered as providing public services. They should be paid accordingly for their services from the state budget. PanNature will dedicate our efforts to develop field-based model and advocate for this approach over the long term. 35


oday, oyal

The Babbler 36 - December 2010

four years ago, in February 2006, Kannitha was one of 24 students who made up the first intake of our new Master of Science (MSc) course in biodiversity conservation at The University of Phnom Penh.

obituaries

ike most of her peers Kannitha came from a family of very modest background and, like most of her peers, Kannitha’s educational background was, at best, very erratic. As such, it was tempting to think that Kannitha would follow many other udents out of the course before managing to complete it. But Kannitha defied the odds, because she had what many of her peers lacked: determination, an indomitable spirit and a hunger for knowledge that left her eager to learn and to overcome hallenges.

Lim Kannitha

ather than being upset about failing her first assignment Kannitha welcomed the feedback as a chance to improve her research skills. She quickly realised that the MSc that she had enrolled in was not only a life time challenge but a life time opporunity and it merely made her work harder and become even more determined. She did not study so hard to prevail only, but to reach a level of scientific excellence both for herself and for her country.

nfortunately, the tragic demise of Kannitha to malaria came much too early for her to enjoy life as a scientist, a life that she so deserved and aspired to. She represented the very best of the MSc course and she possessed the rare combination of by Carl Traeholt ualities required to make a good scientist: curiosity, commitment, creativity, intelligence and altruism.

annitha also had the tenacity to break from traditional conservatism and face new challenges with a smile and without prejudice. Her open-minded spirit made her at home amongst all cultures, in the lab as well as in the field. Possessing such qualiin the lab as well as in the field. Possessing such qualities, I had no reservations about recommending her to pursue her studies in Denes, I had Today, four years ago, in February 2006, Kannitha was one of mark with 24 students who made up the first intake of our new Master of no reservations about recommending her to pursue her studies in Prof. Dr. Ole Naesby Larsen (Odense University) and Prof. Dr. Knud . Heller Science (MSc) course in biodiversity conservation at The Royal Denmark with Prof. Dr. Ole Naesby Larsen (Odense University) (Copenhagen University) who, in several emails to me, repeatedly cknowledged her outstanding potential as a scientist and appreciated her and Prof. Dr. Knud E. Heller (Copenhagen University) who, in University of Phnom Penh. onderful demeanour and positive personality.

several emails to me, repeatedly acknowledged her outstanding While Like most of her peers Kannitha came from a family of very mod- potential as a scientist and appreciated her wonderful demeanour breaking with traditional cultural expectations as a woman and pursung her studies Kannitha was also a role model for many of her peers and est background and, like most of her peers, Kannitha’s education- and positive personality. ounger students whom she never failed to help whenever she could. She had al background was, at best, very erratic. As such, it was tempting harm, was mild-mannered and possessed a very winning personality that While breaking with traditional cultural expectations as a woman a favourite amongst her peers and she will leave immense sadness made her to think that Kannitha would follow many other students out of nd grief the course before managing to complete it. But Kannitha defied and pursuing her studies Kannitha was also a role model for many amongst fellow students and scientists in Cambodia as well as in urope, the odds, because she had what many of her peers lacked: deterof her peers and younger students whom she never failed to help and not least amongst her nearest family and friends. whenever she could. She had charm, was mild-mannered and is not mination, an indomitable spirit and a hunger for knowledge that meaningful to utter that death is unfair – but in this case I would possessed a very winning personality that made her a favourite it came at a very untimely and tragic moment, simply because the ay that left her eager to learn and to overcome challenges. mpty amongst her peers and she will leave immense sadness and grief space it leaves is far too large. Much has been lost with her demise oth for Rather than being upset about failing her first assignment Kanamongst fellow students and scientists in Cambodia as well as in her family and friends but also for her country as one of Cambodia’s most promising young researchers in the field of biodiversity. nitha welcomed the feedback as a chance to improve her research Europe, and not least amongst her nearest family and friends. he will beskills. She quickly realised that the MSc that she had enrolled in sorely missed by students and fellow scientists. was not only a life time challenge but a life time opportunity and It is not meaningful to utter that death is unfair – but in this case I would say that it came at a very untimely and tragic moment, it merely made her work harder and become even more detersimply because the empty space it leaves is far too large. Much mined. She did not study so hard to prevail only, but to reach a has been lost with her demise both for her family and friends but level of scientific excellence both for herself and for her country. also for her country as one of Cambodia’s most promising young researchers in the field of biodiversity. Unfortunately, the tragic demise of Kannitha to malaria came much too early for her to enjoy life as a scientist, a life that she so deserved and aspired to. She represented the very best of the MSc She will be sorely missed by students and fellow scientists. course and she possessed the rare combination of qualities required to make a good scientist: curiosity, commitment, creativity, -------------intelligence and altruism. Source: Cambodia Journal of Natural History. July 2010. Vol 2010. No. 1 Kannitha also had the tenacity to break from traditional conserva- Photo: Lim Kannitha. Chey Koulang tism and face new challenges with a smile and without prejudice. Her open-minded spirit made her at home amongst all cultures,

36


The Babbler 36 - December 2010

Tran Minh Khue

Luu Thi My

M

y joined BirdLife International in Indochina, Vietnam Programme as the Finance Officer in 2000, and was latter assigned as Finance and Administration Manager in 2007. Her responsibilities included overseeing the development and implementation of office and financial procedures. My graduated from the University of Transport and Communications as a cost estimator. Before joining BirdLife My worked as an accountant for a Japanese company. Thank you My for ten years of commited service to BirdLife.

K

hue joined BirdLife in Indochina as an Administration Officer in March 2009. Before joining BirdLife, Khue worked as an Education Promotion Officer for the British Council, Vietnam. Khue has over 10 years experience in the office environment, working on a number of diverse areas and projects. Khue has strong administration skills, with experience working in partnership. Khue assisted in all matters relating to the administration of the Birdlife Vietnam office, and provided communication support to promote Birdlife Indochina’s conservation mission and profile in Vietnam. Good luck to Khue in her new position in the UNESCO office.

STAFF NEWS

Nguyen Thi Muoi

F

ollowing our relocation to our new office premises, Nguyen This Muoi has decided to retire. Mrs Muoi joined BirdLife in 1993 and ties with me for being the longest serving member of staff. We will certainly miss her excellent cooking. When my mother first tasted Mrs Muoi’s delicious home cooking she advised me never to let her go. Unfortunately the time has come. We wish you all the best for the future. Jonathan C. Eames BirdLife Indochina Programme Manager.

Thira Ouk

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hira joined BirdLife at the beginning of August as Project Officer for Cambodia CEPF-RIT project. He studied at the Royal University of Agriculture and Law in Cambodia, obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Forestry and Law. Thira has valuable experience in natural resource and environmental management in Cambodia, much of which he has been gained through employment with the Tonle Sap Environmental Management Project, and Concern Worldwide’s Community Forestry Programme. Working on these projects, his main responsibilities were to provide grant funding support, and capacity building, to local communities, NGOs and government departments. Thira’s experience in both grant-making, and capacity building, lays a sound foundation for his position. Thira is committed to impart his skills, knowledge and experiences to other staff, to help achieve the common goals of BirdLife. This is a big loss to CEPF team in Cambodia but we wish Thira best luck in his future career.

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ovember 2010- We wish longtime BirdLife collaborator Dr. Alexander L. Monastyrskiy and his bride, Tran Thi Thanh Thao congratulations and best wishes on the ocassion of their recent wedding. 37


The Babbler 36 - December 2010

Miscellaneous

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BirdLife Vietnam office relocated ince 9 December 2010, BirdLife International office in Vietnam has relocated to the following new address:

Room 211 - 212, D1 building, Van Phuc Diplomatic Compound 298 Kim Ma street, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi, Vietnam Other contact information remain unchanged

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he opening of the new BirdLife office in Phnom Penh began with Buddhist prayers and was followed by a party.

P.O.Box 89, Hanoi, Vietnam Tel: +84 -4- 3514 8903 and 3514 8904 Fax: +84 -4- 3514 8921 Email: birdlife@birdlife.org.vn Website: www.birdlifeindochina.org

I

Correction

n the last version of Babbler No. 35, under the section of project update Missouri Botanical Garden (www.mobot.org): “Assessment of the Status and Distribution of Globally Threatened Plant Species in Indochina�, two plant species were mislabeled.

This photograph was captioned as Magnolia sp. but it is in fact Michelia sp.

This photograph was captioned as Dipterocarpus alatus but its correct name is Cycas pachypoda

38


The Babbler 36 - December 2010

photo spot

Honoring a Conservation Hero Seng Kim Hout

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t has been my pleasure to work with Kim Hout since I first visited Cambodia in December 1995. Kim Hout was the first person to make it widely known of the importance of Western Siem Pang, after he tracked down Whiteshouldered Ibis there. Since his secondment to BirdLife he has been responsible for our efforts to designate key Important Bird Area as protected areas for the non-breeding population of Eastern Sarus Crane that visits the Bassac Delta in the dry season. He lead the process that lead to the successful designation of both Beoung Prek Lapouv and Kampong Trach as protected areas. Kim Hout’s efforts have paid off handsomely. Kim Hout is BirdLife Species Guardian for the Bengal Florican and he has worked also for the nomination of Integrated Farming and Biodiversity Areas in the Tonle Sap Floodplain. Kim Hout is a champion of conservation and BirdLife salutes his hard work and dedication to the conservation cause.

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uch has been the impact of Martin Fowlie as Managing Editor for World Birdwatch, that BirdLife’s in-house magazine is even widely read throughout the wats, pagodas and temples of Cambodia. Thank you Martin for your support in 2010 and for covering our CEPF project so well in the latest issue of World Birdwatch. Jonathan C. Eames BirdLife Indochina Programme Manager

Jonathan C. Eames BirdLife Indochina Programme Manager 39


The Babbler 36 - December 2010

From the archives

The mythical Tiger-elephant. One of the new species recently described by WWF from the Greater Mekong Region? ------------Source: The tiger - Soul of India by Valmik Thapar 40

The Babbler 36  

Quarterly newsletter of BirdLife International in Indochina (October - December 2010)

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