The search for Delacour's Langur

Van long Travel Blog

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Van Long water ways

A short bus drive away from Cuc Phuong is the small national park of Van Long, we drove by it on the way but totally missed it as it is obscured by developments and cement factories. We reached ther reserve by bus and by foot and hired a boat. To be honest it was not the most spectacular scenary, more limestone karst, but the karst here was surrounded by a wetland teaming with fish and buzzing with dragonflys. 

Our boatman punted us along slowly through the thick aquatic vegetation and we watched king fishers skim across the waters surface to catch the small fry and egrets patrol their watery home. We reached a cave and then turned off around a particularly large piece of Karst and it was there we saw what we had come to see, the Delacour's langur.

Delacour's Langur
This monkey is one of the rarest primates on earth with an estimated 270 - 300 individuals remaining, the largest concentration being in Van Long. This species was once far more wide spread but in the past two years has not been seen in one of its former strong holds, Cuc Phoung. The fact that even really rare species are still vulnerable in the very areas in which they are meant to be preserved and protected was very worrying. The Langurs were obviously oblivious to their plight and munched on leaves and scrambled over the sharp rocks whilst we watched in awe. In Vietnamese they are known as the monkey in white shortss these black monkeys sport white thighs and lower bodies so they do appear to be wearing shorts, they also sport a kind of punk hairstyle.

The view was marred by huge explosions which reverberated off the sides of the karst stone like thunder, the surrounding mounatins are literally being blown to pieces, looking 90 degrees in any direction we could see houses, factories, pylons and roads, but sheltering in a tiny pocket of forest were these beautiful creatures, their future on a knife edge and symbolic of much of what we have seen so far in Asia.

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Van Long water ways
Van Long water ways
Delacours Langur
Delacour's Langur
Cave Van Long
Cave Van Long
Van long
photo by: ben_suz