Efforts to Protect and Enhance the “Green Pearl of Cat Ba”

10:21:13 AM | 6/21/2024

By becoming a part of the Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago World Natural Heritage, Cat Ba National Park has entered a new phase with heavier but more important tasks to preserve heritage values for the country and humanity.

Cat Ba National Park, nestled within the Cat Ba Archipelago, forms a part of the “Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago” World Natural Heritage

Two development decades of the World Biosphere Reserve

Cat Ba National Park was established on March 31, 1986 under Decision 79/CP of the Council of Ministers (present-day Government) as the first national park in the country with both forest ecosystem and maritime ecosystem. From a small agricultural and forestry enterprise in charge of managing, protecting and developing forests, the Park has continuously developed, with its area being significantly expanded to over 17,300 ha.

In 2004, Cat Ba Archipelago, including the core of Cat Ba National Park, was recognized by UNESCO as a world biosphere reserve, representing typical tropical and subtropical marine and island ecosystems of Asia. In the past 20 years, its leadership and staff, from generation to generation, have spared no effort to preserve and develop its values to make the world know more places in Vietnam with unique landscapes and extremely diverse living environments.

Its biodiversity has also been enriched, with over 4,000 species of maritime and terrestrial animals and plants. Many endemic and rare species are listed in the red books of Vietnam and the world. According to statistics, there are up to 2,449 land species alone, including 72 mammal species, 214 bird species, 72 reptile species, 33 frog species and about 150 mollusk species. As for plants, Cat Ba is home to 1,589 species of higher plants and 37 species of mangrove plants. This place is home to hundreds of different species of insects.

In particular, Cat Ba National Park is the habitat for many rare and endemic species such as Cat Ba white-headed langur, black squirrel, chamois, golden-haired monkey and Cat Ba leopard gecko. This is also the only conservation area in Vietnam and around the world for small populations of Cat Ba langurs, tallying about 80 individuals. Since its inception, all employees have performed their jobs well to manage and safeguard rare animals, especially Cat Ba langurs.

Not only does it have a diverse ecosystem, Cat Ba National Park also possesses many cultural and historical values and plays an important role in environmental protection.

In the past years, the Park has successfully carried out 15 topics and projects of all levels to preserve and develop animal and plant genetic resources. In particular, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) funded 14 projects to improve management and leadership capacity in a bid to achieve sustainable development of natural resources on the island district.

In addition, the Park has actively coordinated in carrying out conservation and development programs and projects such as Cat Ba langur conservation project funded the Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations and Muenster Zoo - Germany, Cat Ba conservation and development program financed by the Fauna and Flora International (FFI), and coastal afforestation carbon dioxide offset program.

The Park has also conducted research and introduced specific investment mechanisms and policies on biodiversity conservation; regularly organized training courses and workshops to enhance management capacity for executives; increased investment funding; and supported machinery and equipment for biodiversity management.

Over nearly four decades of operation, all employees have demonstrated exceptional dedication in their task of managing and safeguarding rare animals, with a special focus on the Cat Ba Langur

Protecting and promoting heritage values

Immediately after Cat Ba Archipelago was recognized as a World Natural Heritage, the Party Committee and the People’s Committee of Hai Phong City assigned relevant agencies and localities to execute several specific tasks to promote heritage values like completing the Hai Phong City tourism development project to 2025, with a vision to 2030; adding objectives to the plan of building Cat Ba into a green, smart international tourism center; and strengthening the World Natural Heritage Management Board.

To ensure the harmony of ecosystem value conservation and development, Cat Ba National Park has built and reformed tourist routes and attractions and offered various forms of tourism to meet tourists' demand. Every year, the park attracts over 100,000 domestic and foreign tourists, including many student groups to visit, study, and learn about the ecosystem and natural values there.

Mr. Nguyen Van Thiu, Director of Cat Ba National Park, said: UNESCO’s recognition of Cat Ba Archipelago, including Cat Ba National Park, as part of the Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago World Natural Heritage not only affirms the values of Cat Ba National Park but also acknowledges the tireless efforts of its staff.

To enhance its heritage values, the Park will continue to perform its core task of biodiversity conservation in the World Biosphere Reserve. At the same time, it will strengthen coordination with Cat Hai District People's Committee to strengthen management and protection of forest and marine resources, and forest fire prevention; continue to boost communications and advocacy, and raise public awareness of forest protection, and promptly prevent harmful impacts on biodiversity in the park.

“We also focus on building a professionally qualified workforce; inspire tourists and people to love nature, protect forests and the living environment to beautify and preserve the environmental landscape and join hands for world heritage preservation and development," he emphasized.

By Ngoc Tung, Vietnam Business Forum