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Very little is known about the ecology and biology of many species in Vietnam, particularly the elusive species we work with.  The answers to simple questions such as, ‘when do they breed?’, ‘Are they territorial?’, ‘What is their distribution?’, ‘What are the current population sizes?’ still are unknown.  All of these need answering if we are to effectively conserve these threatened species.


The field teams of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife (formerly Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program) carry out field studies to improve the understanding of wildlife ecology, status and conservation requirements. Field studies aim to find sustainable habitats for our species and carry out post release monitoring for our released wildlife. We will consolidate historical and contemporary information on priority species and landscapes through literature and museum reviews. An integral part of achieving our field work goals will be through the training of protected area staff, university students and scientists in research methods and identification of these species.

Field research projects have been conducted by CPCP in the past, and SVW into the future.

Successful release of five rehabilitated Sunda pangolin into Cat Tien National Park


From late 2013 to early 2014, five Sunda pangolins from the CPCP were released into Cat Tien National Park. These were  three females and two males and were released with overlapping  in an attempt to increase the population and genetic diversity in the park. There was a survival rate of 80%  and data on home range size, den site selection and activity patterns was successfully collected.


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Camera trapping in Cat Tien National Park (CTNP)

Cat Tien National Park is known as one of the best-protected areas of Vietnam, however, its flora and fauna has suffered pressures from poaching and encroachment from the local community. Our field teams have conducted camera trapping in the park targeting the non-Panthera cats in three habitat types. Out of 4,275 effective camera trap nights at 79 different locations 53 species were recorded, including nine species of small carnivore and pangolin.


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Literature review of Non-Panthera cat species in Vietnam

Vietnam contains the home range of many wild cat species, however, the current conservation status is poorly understood. A literature review was carried out and it found that all populations of wild cat species are in serious decline due to habitat loss and illegal hunting. The study also recommended the Mekong Delta as an important conservation area for small cats in Vietnam. The results of this study was published here


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Carnivore and pangolin conservation status in Mekong delta


We launched the ‘U Minh Peatswamp forest project’, the U Minh area contains critically important habitat which holds all recent records of the hairy-nosed otter, Lutra sumatrana, in addition to a number of other globally-threatened species including Large-spotted civet, Viverra civettina, Sunda pangolin and Fishing cat, Prionailurus viverrinus, making it a priority site for conservation in Vietnam. The results of our study in this area have been used to recommend the important areas that park rangers need to control and protect. 


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Pangolins in peril: using local hunters’ knowledge to conserve elusive species in Vietnam

We cooperated with the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, to tap into local hunters’ knowledge to better understand how to conserve the elusive pangolin species in Viet Nam. This study collected field and museum reports to produce the first distribution maps for the Chinese pangolin, Manis pentadactyla, and Sunda pangolin, Manis javanica, in Vietnam.  We also demonstrated that current biodiversity monitoring methods are rarely successful in recording the presence of pangolin and that most of the information about their distribution derives from the knowledge of local hunters. In furthering ecological study methods and conservation programmes for pangolin species in Southeast Asia there is a clear value in applying local hunters knowledge. 


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If pangolin populations are to persist, then law enforcement must also reduce the intensity of the main threats through confiscation of hunting dogs, removal of snare lines and better regulation of forest access. The paper was published here here


Carnivore conservation status survey in Cuc Phuong National Park

Results from interviews, transects surveys and camera trapping suggests a low abundance of small carnivores in Cuc Phuong due to high pressure from illegal hunting and habitat loss. However, the study confirms the presence of two important carnivore species, the Yellow-bellied weasel and Stripe-backed weasel. Cuc Phuong National Park needs improved protection strategies to ensure the species survival.


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Carnivores and Pangolins survey in Ke Go and Khe Net lowlands forests

Following the Cuc Phuong survey we shifted our attention to the critically important Ke Go-Khe Net Lowlands in central Vietnam. The study found the main threats to carnivores and pangolins are again illegal hunting and logging. The Forest Protection Department officers need to strengthen their protection efforts. The results of this survey have also demonstrated the ineffectiveness of standard surveying techniques such as camera trapping and spotlighting for monitoring pangolins. Save Vietnam’s Wildlife is currently refining survey techniques and investigating the role that trained conservation dogs can play in surveying for small mammals.

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