Forest-Dependent communities in Chu Yang Sin National Park
Chu Yang Sin National Park (CYS NP) is one of the largest forest blocks in the Annamite ecoregion, located in DakLak Province in the Central Highlands, is one of the places with the highest biodiversity density and a priority area for conservation in Vietnam. With an area including a buffer zone of more than 180,000 hectares, CYS NP is a treasure of natural resources in Vietnam. CYS NP is a haven for rare and endangered species including Large-antlered Muntjac (Muntiacus vuquangensis - CR), Annamite Crested Argus (Rheinardia ocellata - CR), Owston’s Civet (Chrotogale owstoni - EN) and Annamite Striped Rabbit (Nesolagus timminsi - EN).
Like many national parks and protected areas, CYS NP is currently facing a snare crisis. Our undercover investigation in 2022 found a high density of snares (6.32 snares/km²) in CYS NP. This highlights the urgent need in reducing hunting pressure to ensure the survival of large mammals, especially M. vuquangensis by taking necessary actions to protect wildlife in CYS NP.
However, the conservation and management work of the national park faces a wide range of challenges. Besides ongoing threats as mentioned above, another challenge is related to demographics in the buffer zone where the population has been increasing to over 80,000 people from approximately 21,000 households. They are 25 ethnic minority groups living in 11 communes in two districts of the buffer zone whose livelihoods depend on agriculture and forest resources. Their practices have indirectly and directly caused habitat degradation that leads to the decline of wild animals in the park. One obvious instance is that local poachers put many traps in the forest to hunt animals. Snare traps are made from simple materials like bicycle brake strings and cables, however, they are slick and deadly effective.
Responding to these challenges, WildAct collaborates with Chu Yang Sin National Park to enhance the conservation and management of the park. Besides species and habitat conservation programs, we are currently carrying out a project to remove snare traps, raise community awareness in the buffer zone and provide technical support to CYS NP rangers. So far, 329 animal traps of all kinds and 14 illegal camps were removed from the park, and over 200 local people participated in our community engagement program.
We understand that wildlife conservation and management should be associated with the socio-economic sustainable development of the local communities. Therefore, we call for the interests of all individuals and organisations across sectors who would like to collaborate with us to develop alternative livelihoods and well-being of local communities.