Cuc Phuong National Park
Established in 1962, Cuc Phuong is believed to be the oldest national park in Vietnam. Located only 120km southwest of Hanoi and nestled between the provinces of Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa, Cuc Phuong boasts enchanting scenery and wildlife.
Magnificent Limestone Mountains rise up majestically from the green rice-terraces and traditional stilt houses of the Muong hill-tribe. Covered in a dense forest, this landscape forms the habitat for some of Asia’s rarest animal and plant species. It is no wonder that researchers, naturalists, enthusiasts and conservationists alike are drawn to this corner of the world. The ancient forest harbours over 2234 vascular and non-vascular plants, 122 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 135 species mammals, including the Clouded Leopard, Delacour’s Langur, Owston’s Civet and Asian Black Bear. There are also an incredible 336 documented bird species. Visitors in April and May should be blessed with the chance to see literally thousands of vibrant butterflies.
Located on 2 limestone mountain ranges, the landscape of Cuc Phuong contains a wonderfully rich ecosystem. The rocky outcrops of Cuc Phuong form the site of valuable pale ontological and anthropological vestiges, including a fossilized sea reptile dated at 200 – 230 million years old, while the remains of prehistoric people who lived in the forest some 7500 years ago are also to be found in the numerous mountain caves.
The Endangered Primate Rescue Center
The Endangered Primate Rescue Center is a not for profit project dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, breeding, research and conservation of Vietnams endangered and critically endangered primate species. First established in 1993, through a collaboration between Frankfurt Zoological Society and Cuc Phuong National Park, the center is presently managed under the umbrella of the Vietnam Primate Conservation Program, jointly operated by Zoo Leipzig and Cuc Phuong National Park.
More than 180 animals have been born at the center, some being the first of their species to be born in captivity, including the critically endangered Cat Ba langur, Delacours langur and the Grey shanked douc langur.
Today the center is home to around 180 primates representing 15 species. The primates are housed in more than 50 large enclosures including two fenced semi wild areas of primary forest, measuring 2 and 5 hectares in size. These enclosures serve to prepare animals for release into the wild and provide opportunities to study the behavior of animals in semi wild conditions.
Volunteering at the EPRC
You have to pay an extortionate amount to volunteer at the EPRC, and I am personally completely opposed to that… If you work somewhere, you should not have to pay. Especially if you are volunteering! You can help pay for your living expenses there but why would you need to pay 400$ to work for free for a week? Especially in a country where living expenses are so low !
The Turtle Conservation Center
In 1998, Fauna and Flora International (FFI) established the Turtle Conservation Center (TCC) as part of a larger conservation initiative focused on Cuc Phuong National Park. In 2001, management of the project was transferred to the national park. Today, the TCC remains the flagship for efforts to protect tortoise and freshwater turtles in Vietnam.
The Turtle Conservation Center in Cuc Phuong National Park is a rescue and holding center for Vietnamese tortoise and freshwater turtle species.
The TCC was established by Fauna Flora International (FFI) in 1998 as a rescue and holding center for tortoise and freshwater turtles which have been victims of extensive illegal wildlife trade during the 1980’s and 1990’s. It was widely recognized that this trade, largely for consumption as food and for traditional medicines was unsustainable and needed to be addressed.
Today, the TCC serves as a regional flagship for tortoise and freshwater turtle conservation efforts and for educating the public about the critical threat to the survival of turtles in Vietnam. The center encompasses an area of about 7,000 square meters of enclosures, aquatic tanks, and specialized breeding and holding facilities for more than 900 turtles representing 19 of Vietnam’s 25 native species. Most animals at the TCC have been confiscated by wildlife protection officers.
- Training of wildlife protection officers.
- Rescuing and holding confiscated turtles. The program currently houses over 1100 individuals of 19 turtle species native to Vietnam, of which there are 3 found in Cuc Phuong.
- Public awareness and education. Awareness efforts have targeted both visitors and local communities bordering the park. The TCC also reaches national audiences through visits by journalists and television crews, as well as by producing and distributing illustrates books, posters, films, and other educational resources to support turtle conservation efforts.
- Conservation breeding program. The TCC has developed a conservation breeding program for some of the most endangered species at the center. To date, more than 900 turtles have been born at the center and will be released in the wild.
- Research. The TCC supervises a field research project focused on the home range and ecology of Cuc Phuong’s native keeled box turtle (Cuora mouhotii).