In pictures: Paradise for endangered primates
Updated : 07/25/2012 15:07 GMT + 7
Located in the middle of a forest of shady tall trees, the Cuc Phuong Endangered Primate Rescue Center of the eponymous national park in the northern province of Ninh Binh currently houses about 150 individuals of 15 species and sub-species which are facing extremely high risks of extinction in the wild.
According to Nguyen Thi Thu Hien, a senior expert at the center, most of the primates are victims of the illegal wildlife trade and hunting. Many of them had been in serious health condition before being sent to the center. Therefore it is quite difficult to treat their injuries and help them readjust to their habitats after they are released back into the wild.
These primates are able to give birth to babies that are considered rare genetic sources in maintaining and protecting diverse animal populations.
20 local employees and four experts are currently working at the center which is managed and coordinated by German animal expert Tilo Nadler, 74, and Hien, his Vietnamese wife.
“Our main goal is to release the primates back into the wild, but the rampant illegal hunting worries us a lot,” Hien said.
The favorite food of douc langurs is leaves. Unlike other primates, douc langurs may die if they eat bananas.
A Grey-shanked douc langur that is being taken care of at the Cuc Phuong Endangered Primate Rescue Center.
The center has a total area of 3.5 hectares. Primates are kept in spacious cages. There is also a 2ha semi-wildlife area for them to use.
Mother and child rest on a canvas sheet hung in the middle of their cage. The baby douc langur has difficulty moving since it is still in poor health after its birth.
Employees at the center are preparing lunch for 150 primates that consume 300 kilograms of various kinds of leaves each day.
Animal expert Tilo Nadler (R) and veterinarian Ulvicke Streicher give a medical check-up to a black-shanked douc langur.
A baby douc langur, whose mother was illegally shot dead by a hunter, is bottle-feeded.
This is a black-shanked douc langur that forest rangers in Vinh city in the central province of Nghe An have handed over to the center. There is still a poacher’s bullet in its body. The monkey, named Vinh, is unable to move its left hand.
Two employees fix a cage for the primates.
The female douc langur in this photo is 8-year-old Xuan, the name of an expert who used to take care of her. Xuan was brought to Cuc Phuong from Pu Mat National Park in Nghe An province. All of her family members have been killed by hunters. Xuan is living in the same cage as Vinh.
The couple Tilo Nadler and Thu Hien have been living and working at the center for 15 years. Their two sons were also born here.
The primates that are being taken care of at the Cuc Phuong Endangered Primate Rescue Center include Delacour’s langur (Trachypithecus delacouri), Hatinh (Trachypithecus laotum hatinhensis), Black langur (Trachypithecus laotum ebenus), Lao langur (Trachypithecus laotum laotum), Cat Ba langur (Trachypithecus poliocephalus poliocephalus), and Grey-shanked Douc langur (Pygathrix cinerea).
The illegal hunting of wild animals remains rampant in Vietnam despite strict punishment from the government. Each year, a large number of animals captured in numerous traps feel great pain, and many of them have died.
In a recent case many people, especially animal rights advocates, have harshly criticized a group of servicemen who brutally abused and slaughtered two douc langurs, one of whom was pregnant.