Values of Xuan Lien – Pu Hoat forest landscapes for the conservation of northern white-cheeked gibbon in Vietnam

The monitoring and conservation program of northern white-cheeked gibbon (Nomascus leucogenys) in Vietnam is carried out by the Center for Nature Conservation and Development (CCD) with the focus on Xuan Lien Nature Reserve (NR) in Thanh Hoa Province and Pu Hoat NR (including Protection Forest) in Nghe An Province. This is a long-term program to protect, monitor and recover this Critically Endangered (CR) gibbon population in its historical distribution areas.

In May and June 2020, CCD field biologists conducted a field survey in the joint area between Xuan Lien NR and Pu Hoat Protection Forest. As a result, 62 groups with 142 individuals were recorded as below:

– Pu Hoat protection forest area (under management of Pu Hoat NR management board) possesses 40 groups and 85 individuals. These are the most detailed and largest records of northern white-cheeked gibbon population in this area.

– Xuan Lien NR (fixed listening posts (LP) of LP5, LP13 and part of LP15 were monitored this time) has at least 22 groups and 57 individuals. Compared to the 2011-2012 baseline data in the same area, which previously recorded 15 groups and 47 individuals (Nguyen et al. 2012), the number of gibbon groups and individuals has increased by 07 groups and 10 individuals after nearly 10 years.

During this survey, the team also took photos and videos of two northern white-cheeked gibbon groups foraging. They include a group of 03 individuals (01 male, 01 female and 01 infant) in Pu Hoat side and a group of 04 individuals (01 male, 01 female, 02 sub-adults) in Xuan Lien side. So far, these are among the first images and videos of the northern white-cheeked gibbon taken in the wild in Vietnam.

Once again, the survey results confirm that Xuan Lien and Pu Hoat NRs are the most important distribution and conservation areas of the northern white-cheeked gibbon in Vietnam. Therefore, conservation efforts should be continuously undertaken in these areas to protect and restore this Critically Endangered gibbon population.

CCD has committed to maintain long-term conservation efforts for crested gibbons (Nomascus), especially the northern white-cheeked gibbon and Cao Vit gibbon in Vietnam, by strengthening the population surveys and monitoring, studying species ecology and behaviors and building capacity for stakeholders.

Photo 1. An adult male
Photo 2. An adult female with a baby
Photo 3. A sub-adult male
Photo 4. Survey team at Xuan Lien forest
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