Xin Chào from Cát Tiên National Park,
With 90 odd million people in a fairly small area of land, and thousands of years of occupancy and development, it’s easy to see why a large proportion of Việt Nam is touched by humans in some way. Add to this, three decades of war. So, preserving natural landscapes is likely to be more an act of restoration than preservation. We are in Cát Tiên National Park this weekend. It’s an example of restoration at work.
A large area of land is now set aside for the preservation of plant (1610 botanic species) and animal species (hundreds). The human inhabitants (Ma and Stieng peoples) have been relocated to nearby villages (mainly Ta Lai). And, in some parts of the 720 square kilometre park, endemic species have been restored to their original habitat eg. Bau Sau has been repopulated with Siamese Crocodiles. We walked to Bau Sau this morning and took a low-boat ride around the circumference. It’s said that there are now 200 animals in the lake, after the re-population. We were glad they weren’t jumping as out boat was a bit close to the water.
Sun Bears and Moon Bears
Also within the park there is a rescue centre for bears which have been in captivity. Linda is appalled by the practice in some places to capture bears for bile (alleged medicinal uses?). At the time of our visit a new rescue facility is being built, bigger and better to accommodate more of the rescue bears.
National Park Forest Rangers are being given increasing responsibility and resources to manage poaching in the national park.
Even though large areas of land in Việt Nam are under cultivation and there is growing urbanisation, there are still substantial tracts in a condition which is fairly close to natural. In fact, large sections of Cát Tiên National Park were subject to defoliation during the American War and they’ve been slow to recover. After government decree, logging ceased in the early 1990s and tourism is changing the landuse for the entire area. Restoration may not be as good as preservation but it’s a whole lot better than unfettered development.
Hẹn gặp lại from Cát Tiên