Over the past ten years, a 65-year-old man has tirelessly video-taped and taken snapshots of some hundreds of mushroom species to both satisfy his passion and convey a forest protection message.
Vu Manh Tu worked as a civil servant in Ho Chi Minh City and later a scriptwriter and tourist service provider.
Since his retirement, he has been roaming forests to capture some hundreds of mushroom species with his camera.
Tu once spent one whole year video-taping wildlife in Bau Sau Forest, part of southern Vietnam’s Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve, to voice his protest against a hydroelectric plant project.
In 2004, he met a professor specializing in mushrooms.
During one year working with the professor, he fell in love with the fungus without even noticing it.
“I was awed and intrigued by his discovery of some 100 species of mushrooms. I then began roaming the forests on my own in search of the fungus. The passion is endless until now,” Tu shared.
He added that there were times when he stayed put for up to eight hours on end for a single video clip, waiting for the right sun light or the moment when the mushrooms are in full bloom.
The old man said that he often films in national parks and natural reserves including Vinh Cuu and Cat Tien in southern Dong Nai Province, Tam Dao and Cat Ba in northern Vinh Phu Province and Hai Phong City.
He makes two such trips on average each month, with each trip lasting two or three days.
Tu meticulously numbered and classified each of the 600 mushroom species which he video-taped and some 700 species which he took photos of.
He trimmed the clips of some 10 to 15 minutes down to only two, and the concise clips feature the most stunning shots and good music.
“How can people mistreat forests after watching such clips?” he pondered.
Tu expressed his wish that he will video-tape some 1,000 mushroom species before his time runs out.
He also hopes that his footages will be watched by many people to help them better appreciate the wonders which forests offer.