Rare bear sighting provides hope for biodiversity

A rare Asiatic black bear has been recorded by WWF camera traps in Vietnam. The footage proves the success of the organisation’s conservation efforts in what is believed to be one of the world’s rich biodiversity spots.

The images of the threatened bear taken in Quang Nam Province in central Vietnam are an important indicator of results of on the ground conservation efforts to improve the quality of forests considered one of the world’s rich biodiversity spots.

The same bear was captured on a WWF camera trap in late 2012 when a number of camera traps were installed to support WWF’s and the government’s biodiversity monitoring.

WWF and the Vietnamese government have embarked on one of the most ambitious conservation assignments in the region’s history through the Carbon and Biodiversity Programme (CarBi), which aims to protect and regenerate more than 200,000 hectares of unique forest.

Among the more than12,000 recorded pictures, several valuable species have been found, including the Sunda pangolin, large- antlered muntjac, serrow, Annamite striped rabbit, black bear, and Saola, which was rediscovered for the first time in 15 years in 2013.

“They are species affected by illegal hunting which our forest guard patrols and Protection Area management activities should be limiting. Their existence is also dependent on good quality forest. I believe that these photographs are very important monitoring indicators of our conservation impacts,” said Phan Tuan, Head of Quang Nam Forest Protection Department, Quang Nam’s CarBi project’ Director.

Together with the camera traps which are used to track wild animals and their habitat, WWF and the government also introduced a progressive forest guard model. The initiative involves employing and training local people in law enforcement, patrolling and detecting and removing snares and dismantling illegal camps used by poachers and loggers. The guards also catch illegal hunters and loggers when possible.

The project has had considerable success since its launch, removing over 35,000 snares in the area.

The WWF-Greater Mekong CarBi Programme is an unprecedented four-year, trans-border conservation economy assignment focused on the Central Annamite Mountains joining Laos and Vietnam.

Photo credit: lamentables/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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