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Primates

Diversity, evolution, and conservation of slow lorises in Vietnam

Slow lorises are among the least studied primates in Southeast Asia, in part because they are small and nocturnal, which makes them difficult to investigate in the wild. The CBC conducts multidisciplinary, collaborative research to inform and improve the conservation management of slow lorises in Vietnam. The CBC collaborates with the Centre for Natural Resources and the Environment (CRES) to gather the essential basic data—e.g., the number of different species of loris, how to tell them apart, where these populations come from, and how many remain—that conservation managers will need to more effectively protect these species from further population decline. Read more about CBC Assistant Director for Research Mary Blair’s recent surveys to find slow lorises in Vietnam in her New York Times Scientist at Work Blog: http://scientistatwork.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/slow-loris/.  The greatest threat to the survival of slow lorises is the illicit wildlife trade. Slow lorises are in high demand across Southeast Asia for traditional medicines, for food, and as pets. Upcoming work in Vietnam, funded by the National Science Foundation, will expand our research to include social science approaches to better inform policy makers about the underlying social and economic drivers of illicit trade in lorises.

Grey-shanked Douc Conservation in Central Vietnam

The Grey-shanked Douc (Pygathrix cinerea) is a leaf-eating monkey endemic to Vietnam and one of the most threatened primates in the world. Listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and identified by Conservation International since 2000 as one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates, its global range is restricted to five provinces in the Central Truong Son Mountains of Vietnam. Because the global Grey-shanked Douc population is only 550-700 individuals, largely composed of highly fragmented subpopulations of fewer than 100 individuals, conservation efforts for the Grey-shanked Douc must focus on priority sites that represent the best opportunities for the long-term persistence of the species. One of these priority sites is the proposed Quang Nam Species and Habitat Conservation Area, where in 2005, the world’s largest population of Grey-shanked Doucs was discovered. The CBC recently collaborated with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Vietnam’s Forest Protection Department (FPD) to conduct surveys of this crucial population for long-term Grey-shanked Douc survival, providing scientific support towards the establishment of the proposed protected area and also raising awareness and developing capacity for continued monitoring. CBC Director Eleanor Sterling’s recent survey for Grey-shanked Doucs in 2010 was documented in her New York Times Scientist at Work Blog: http://scientistatwork.blogs.nytimes.com/.

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