Dispatches from the Field: Bert Covert, May 2012

Enjoying a Mango

Look at the Fruit in My Mouth!

Working the Vines

 

Photography by Bert Covert

Photos from Vietnam
(click the last picture to launch the gallery)

 

26 May 2012

Dear All,

  We had a truly amazing day in the field -- we saw a single social group of silvered langurs with more than 50 individuals.  This is amazing because it is a very, very large group for langurs anywhere (and they range throughout southern and southeast Asia and Indonesia.  Also, it is amazing because as recently as 2008 it was thought that no more than 30-40 members of this species existed in Vietnam.  I have seen more than 100 the past couple of days.  I will send some pictures soon.

Regards,

Bert

 

28 May 2012

Dear All,

  On Tuesday we drove from Ho Chi Minh City to Kien Luong, Kien Giang Province on the western edge of the Mekong Delta.  We have been working on a silvered langur conservation project in this area the past few years.  It is interesting (at least to me) for a host of reasons.  1)  Silvered langurs were first noted to live in this area in 2000 by my colleague Hoang Minh Duc (check out the picture of Duc watching langurs).  2)  Until 2009 it was thought there were less than 40 silvered animals in this region of Vietnam – a relic population on a few limestone hills in Kien Giang.  3)  In 2009 we confirmed the presence of more than 220 silvered langurs in this region – the largest confirmed population of this species anywhere.  4) We are working with (and against) a Swiss concrete manufacturer on the conservation project.  And 5) the 100 or so silvered langurs that live on the hill at Chua Hang are quite easy to observe because they are used to hearing and seeing humans – humans that are nearby to visit a pagoda (Chua) and to enjoy the beach (see the beach picture). 

  I must write that the beach looks nicer in the picture that it does close up – lots of liter and the water is not clean this time of year.  It is a pleasant place to work just the same – while it is hot and humid there is also a pleasant coastal breeze.  Also while we end up walking a few miles each day – it is on nice paths, not bush whacking through the juggle.  On Wednesday and Thursday we saw more than 60 animals pretty amazing – they are easy to observe and do not flee from humans (as most primates in Vietnam do – and for good reason, they are hunted even though this activity is illegal throughout the country).  I’ve seen lots of feeding behavior – green mangoes, a couple of other types of small fruit, leaves, and buds (I’ve included a few pictures).  I’ve also seen animals grooming one another (an important social behavior), seen some babies – many langurs are characterized by having babies that are a dramatically different color than parents – I’ve included a few photos of youngsters from yesterday – they are bright yellow/gold rather than dark silver.  While most of the observations the past couple of day have been of the animals in trees we also watched a group of more than 30 pass over a limestone cliff face for 30 minutes (out of more than 8 hours of observations) and I have included a few pictures.  Finally, it seems that the monkeys watch us as we watch them – I’ve included a couple of pictures of this also.


Regards,
Bert