And the Survey Says…Son Tra Schoolchildren Pledge to Save the Red-shanked Douc

Posted on Posted in Asia, Conservation, Education, Primates, Vietnam

Vietnam boasts an amazing diversity of fauna and flora that are protected in many national parks and nature reserves, for example in places like Cuc Phuong National Park, Van Long Nature Reserve and Cat Ba National Park, the latter being also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along the central coast of Vietnam, the Son Tra Nature Reserve, another natural gem, is located on the Son Tra Peninsula that juts out to the sea next to Danang, Vietnam’s third largest city. Although children in Danang can see the lush Son Tra Mountain every day, few ever have visited the reserve, and even fewer are familiar with its natural wonders, especially the endangered red-shanked douc (Pygathrix nemaeus). LVDI International has been working with GreenViet, a local conservation organization, in research, education, outreach and capacity-building efforts in order to safeguard the douc from becoming locally extinct. Because Son Tra is so close to Danang it forms the perfect backdrop for our Little Green Guards® conservation education program based on local wildlife. Thus, when preparing a survey to obtain the baseline information about the awareness of wildlife in the Son Tra schoolchildren it was important for us to consider what the children’s attitude was toward the nature reserve and how much they knew about their native species. Results from our survey showed that children in the third grade could recognize wildlife native to Vietnam, but had little knowledge about what these animals needed to survive. The former result could be influenced by the fact that a month prior to the survey a chapter in their textbook was devoted to wild animals. Also, some children had been exposed to our Little Green Guards® program about native wildlife and habitats. Overall our survey results showed that these children were supportive of keeping Son Tra pristine. This speaks volumes about the power of our education program, especially when it is incorporated with field trips allowing the children to learn and experience what is just outside their classrooms.

 

Aargh, I’m a tiger defending Son Tra! (photo © GreenViet/LVDI International)

 

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