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New gecko discovered in nature reserve

VietNamNet Bridge – Researchers have found out a new species of gecko in the Ta Cu Nature Reserve in Binh Thuan province.

For illustration only, photo: Daily Mail

The new endemic gecko is named Gekko takouensis sp. nov. Ngo & Gamble since it was discovered by Ngo Van Tri, an expert from the HCM City Institute of Tropical Biology and Dr. Tony Gamble from the Minnesota University, USA.

This is the second endemic gecko species found on Ta Cu mountain. The other is bent-toe gecko named Cyrtodactylus takouensis Ngo & Bauer.

Recently, many rare species of animals have been discovered in the Ta Cu Nature Reserve, including francolin, mountain hawk, Truong Son silver douc and black-legged monkey (Pygathrix nigripes).

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Ta Cu Nature Reserve has 751 floral species and at least 15 species are very rare. It is also the home to around 178 species of terrestrial spinal animals.

Dr. Vu Ngoc Long, Director of the HCM City Institute of Tropical Biology‘s Bio-diversity and Development Centre, there are at least 25 species of endangered animals at the Ta Cu Nature Reserve.

To protect the important nature reserve, a project has been launched to improve management capacity of local authorities and raise people’s awareness of protecting environment.

VietNamNet/TTXVN

Industrial smoke clouds lungs in northern homes

Smoke rises from two firms in the northern province of Hung Yen at night.

Environmental agencies admit companies avoid detection by polluting at night.

Vu Thi Nam and all her neighbors have had to seal even the tiniest openings in their homes to prevent industrial dust from seeping in at night.

“But we still can’t prevent the terrible odors from creeping through,” said Nam of Hanoi’s Hai Ba Trung District.

“Stenches from the industrial waste at the 10/10 Textile Joint Stock Company cover our neighborhood every night,” she said, adding that the firm releases its toxic smoke at night to avoid detection by environmental authorities.

Sealing up their homes is Hai Ba Trung residents’ last defense after their countless complaints have fallen on deaf ears at local agencies.

Nam’s neighborhood is not alone. Thousands of residents in Hanoi and several nearby provinces are reeling from air pollution caused by industrial production, and concerned agencies appear unmoved on the issue.

A worker at 10/10 Textile Company who asked to remain anonymous said the most poisonous odor was from a chemical used to produce mosquito nets.

“It would surely harm anyone who inhaled it,” he said.

DECREE RAISES FINES AGAINST POLLUTERS

The Vietnamese government has moved to prevent environmental violations by raising the maximum pollution fine to more than US$27,000, some seven times higher than the current rate.

According to a decree that will take effect on March 1, violators of environment laws could face a warning as the most lenient measure, or a fine between VND100,000 ($5.4) and VND500 million ($27,078).

Violators could also have their business licenses suspended or revoked as well as being ordered to restore damages done to the environment.

Production, trading and services facilities violating environmental laws could also be ordered to move away from residential areas and their violations will be publicly announced by the media, according to the new decree.

Statistics showed a total of 4,545 cases of environment violations were detected nationwide in 2009, more than four times higher than the previous year. Among localities with violations, Hanoi topped the list with 482 cases, followed by Hai Phong with 159 cases and Ho Chi Minh City with 132 cases.

Nguyen Van Cong, a resident living near the factory, said he could smell the odor from as far as Lac Trung Street, located two kilometers away.

Many residents said they find a thick layer of dust on their floors in the morning if they accidentally forget to close their windows at night.

Truong Quoc Bao, a resident in Hai Ba Trung District’s Vinh Tuy Ward, said the pollution had caused sinusitis in many locals.

People in nearby provinces have also complained of local firms that release emissions at night.

Vi Thi Nu, a vegetable farmer in Bac Ninh Province, said the Viet Nhat Glass Joint Venture Company on National Highway 5 emitted foul odors every evening.

“A blanket of dust covers my house and vegetables on the farm,” she said.

Ha Minh Hoa, head of the Bac Ninh Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s environmental section, admitted that it was well-known that Viet Nhat Glass had not installed a proper smoke treatment system.

He said the same was true for many firms in Bac Ninh that release toxins into the air under the cover of darkness. (more…)

New species of lizard found in Nui Chua National Park

VietNamNet Bridge – A new species of lizard named Cyrtodactylus caovansungi was found at the Nui Chua National Park in Ninh Thuan province, announced Huynh Viet Kim, Director of the National Park.

This lizard lives on an altitude of 400 metres. This is the smallest species of lizard found so far. The lizard is 3.86cm long and its body has orange colour. This species of lizard was discovered by specialists from the Ho Chi Minh City Tropical Biology Institute.

The Nui Chua National Park located in Vinh Hai commune, Ninh Hai district, Ninh Thuan province is the habitat for more than 1,256 species of flora and 306 species of fauna. Many of them are listed in the world’ Red Book.

VietNamNet/Nhan Dan

Canadian resort owner protects Vietnamese wildlife

A Black-shranked douc, listed as critically endangered in Vietnam, near Jungle Beach

Endangered species hunted by poachers find an unlikely friend north of Nha Trang.

When he’s not tending to his duties as the owner of Jungle Beach, one of central Vietnam’s most secluded beach resorts, Sylvio Larmache spends his days looking after his langurs.

In the jungles of Hon Heo mountain, on the foothills on which Sylvio’s backpacker getaway sits, endangered deer, douc langurs and four kinds of rare eagles live undisturbed, despite the fact that poachers could fetch high prices for the animals.

Larmache can take at least some of the credit for protecting the animals and ensuring that they thrive in their natural habitat, which has been whittled away piece by piece via encroaching developments: mostly hotels and factories.

Larmache’s five loyal dogs, including Momma Dog and Ugly Dog, act as his eyes and ears, vigilantly watching over the hills to spot illegal loggers or hunters who covet the area’s raw timber and untouched wildlife, 60 miles north of Khanh Hoa Province’s prime beach resort town of Nha Trang.

Sylvio Lamarche (L) shows a tourist the animals he watches over. The owner of the Jungle Beach resort in Khanh Hoa Province has taken it upon himself to protect local endangered species.

Lamarche himself walks the mountain barefoot every day to count the animals he sees. He keeps specific track of four species of eagle, four endangered species of deer and communities of slow loris and black langur in his personal journal.

“I have no authority. But I have love for plants and animals,” the 54-year old Canadian said in Vietnamese.

Not just on TV

Larmache found the present-day Jungle Beach’s pristine sands and crystal-clear waters in 1995 as a traveler kayaking the Ninh Hoa Commune coast. He knew that he would one day make a little slice of heaven his home.

In 2000, Larmache sold his farm back home in Canada and returned to Vietnam to buy the one hectare of land along the Hon Heo foothills, where he and his Vietnamese wife then built Jungle Beach.

Larmache gets up very early everyday and uses binoculars to check if his favorite mountain animals have gone for their breakfast.

“I love them. They need protection,” he said. “I also want my kid to see a deer or langur right in front of his eyes, instead of just on television.”

Lamarche accepts no payment for his work protecting the animals, but he is proud of the Certificate of Merit given to him by the Ninh Hoa District government for his volunteer efforts.

Most Jungle Beach guests spend at least part of their stay watching the animals through his binoculars or a telescope. Some even hike into the hills themselves to get a close up view.

Jungle Beach manager Luu Vinh Quang, 43, said Sylvio has had to confront trappers in the past.

Quang remembered one incident in which local residents had trapped a slow loris nearby and Lamarche tried to buy its freedom. But he refused to pay their exorbitant price for fear it would fuel the trade. (more…)