A visit to Mr Pangolin
Cuc Phuong Travel Blog› entry 20 of 44 › view all entries
We left the busy streets of Hanoi and ventured to our second national park in Vietnam; Cuc Phuong. The journey took 3 hours and on our arrival we were greeted by Thai who Ben first met whilst working for Durrell last year. Thai works in the pangolin and small carnivore center in the national park which rescues animals that have been illegally taken from the forests to be sold on either as pets, or into the meat/traditional medicine industry.
We arrived quite late to the park so checked into our room and then headed straight to the restaraunt with Thai, after a catch up over dinner we headed to bed. We were up early the next morning and headed to the botanical gardens which was a 6 km walk in total, whilst in the gardens we saw some spotted deer and an amazing array/amount of butterflys.
After the primate center we headed to the parks turtle center. The center is home to many different species of asian turtles which, like the other animals have been confiscated from the illegal trade in wildlife. The turtles face all the same hazards as the other animals, i.e. habitat destruction, poaching etc... The center housed approximately 1000 turtles as they have a breeding scheme running at the center and currently dont really have enough room to house all of the animals that they have! It was a great place to visit as they have some beautiful species there.
During our time with the turtles we met up with Thai who then took us to see where he works; the small carnivore and pangolin center. We were truly lucky to see the animals that they have here as the center is not usually open to the public. We were first taken to see a brown palm civet and a couple of bintarongs and Leopard cats. We also saw Ostens Civets, a regional endemic and an absoluely beautiful animal. We then walked back to the restaraunt for dinner after which we would go to see the pangolins. We had to wait until after dinner as they dont usually wake up until atleast 7.30 pm. So after dinner the moment I had been waiting for arrived, we walked back to the carnivore center and then went into the pangolin section of the center and I finally got to see a pangolin.
The next day we met Thai in the morning and then ventured into the forest. The forest was absolutely beautiful, it was really lush and there were weird snails and bugs everywhere. Although the mammals are mostly gone, there are still some small carnivores, like civets, martens, and other mammals like sambar deer still hanging on, but only just! Sadly we didnt see any mammals, just some kind of cobra but to be honest being in such a beautiful forest was enough of a site for me to see. In the evening I decided to stay at home as Thai and Ben ventured back into the forest to go on a frog hunt, as frogs are nocturnal Ben was absolutely itching to get to see what he could find at night. They set off on Thais motorbike and it turned out to be a very successful trip as they saw 12 different species of frog, an owl, a viper some agamid lizards and loads of invertibrates. Ben came back to the hotel a very happy man!
The next morning we caught the bus at 9 a.m and set off back to Hanoi but had a diversion on the way....