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Heading home for the New Year,
primate released in Central Vietnam

One lucky primate has made it back home in time for Tet after being rescued in Quang Ngai province, central Vietnam. The female Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) has been caught in December 2013 in an area of acacia forest 30ha in size which is connected to an area of natural forest in Binh An commune, Binh Son district, Quang Ngai province. As natural forest has been lost in southeast Asia many forest species are being pushed into areas closer to humans such as agricultural areas.

According to locals a group of up to 30 macaques overwinter in this area of forest close to crops belonging to local households which they also occasionally raid. It was while the macaques were raiding a pumpkin patch this female was caught while she was moving slowing carrying an infant, when she was caught the youngster was able to escape.

The macaque was then given to a local, Mr Cao Xuan Thao, from Binh Khuong commune, Binh Son district who is aware of a turtle conservation project in the commune undertaken by the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) and Southern Institute of Ecology (SIE) to protect the endemic Vietnamese Pond Turtle (Mauremys annamensis) that also occurs in the province. On meeting a member of staff from the ATP he agreed to release the lucky lady back home in time for Tet. On the 16th of January Mr Thao accompanied the local police supported by the forest Protection Department (FPD) of Quang Ngai province to locate the area where the animal was caught so she could be released at the same site, hopefully giving her the best chance to locate her family. Although rhesus macaques occupy an enormous range of habitats, inhabiting arid, open areas, in wood- and grasslands, deforestation and the conversion of natural forests for agriculture have pushed them to live in close proximity to humans. The loss of habitat is also a grave problem for another species native to Binh Khuong commune: the critically endangered Vietnamese Pond Turtle (Mauremys annamensis), a species endemic to the area and a priority species for ATP conservation efforts.

 

Press release by Nguyen Thanh Luan

17th January 2014

 

 


Above: Mr. Thao releasing the female macaque in an acacia forest in Binh Yen village, Binh Khuong commune, Quang Ngai province, where it was caught one month ago.


Above: The macaque at Mr. Thao house before the release. The ATP officer who found him reported that the animal looked skinny and frightened.


Above: Acacia forest and cassava field where the group of rhesus macaques forages for food after their natural habitat was destroyed

 

Thank you:

 

We would like to thank the People Committee of Binh Khuong and the Binh Son Forest Protection Department for their support concerning this release and we also thank Mr. Thao and his family for releasing the macaque back to its forest.

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For more information please contact:

Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Cleveland Metoparks Zoo,
Office: Room#1302, Thanh Cong Tower, 57 Lang Ha Street,
Ba Dinh, Hanoi, Vietnam

Tel: +84 (0) 4 3514 9750
Fax: +84 (0) 4 3519 0383

Email: info@asianturtleprogram.org

 

 

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