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EXPLORATION IN THE NEW ESTABLISHED NATIONAL PARK PHUOC BINH

Phung My Trung - Nguyen Thi Lien Thuong - ADMIN

 

Phuoc Binh National Park is 60km far from Phan Rang, the capital of Ninh Thuan province in central of Vietnam. This National Park was established in 2006 and has an area of ​​19,814 ha, in which 80% of the areas are natural forests. Phuoc Binh National Park is adjoining to Bi Doup National Park - Nui Ba and they form a large nature conservation area. Here, primary forests are mainly dipterocarp forests with plants of Dipterocaparceae family and evergreen forests bordering the highland Lam Dong. Together with Bi Doup Nui Ba National Park, they have created a unique bird area of ​​Vietnam. There are 327 species in which 50 rare species in Vietnam's Red Book 2000 including 23 mammals, 14 birds, 13 reptiles and amphibians; 29 species in the IUCN Red List 2006 including 14 mammal species, 12 bird species. And about plant, there are 2,025 species according to the unofficial statistics of the Park.

About 60km from Phan Rang, the National Park appeared with towering mountains covering in haze when the first rain began to fall.

 

 

 

The road to the park was serpentine and had hundreds of huge holes and deep grooves caused by the heavy rains.

 

 

 

Along the two side of the road were primitive forests with many large rare wood trees on the mountain range

 

 

 

The first inhabitants of the jungle welcoming me was a mountain horned dragon Acanthosaura lepidogaster sunbathing on a dry branch to regulate its body temperature. The green color of this species is a good weapon for them to find food and avoid their predators

 

 

 

At this time, the changeable lizard Calotesversicolor changed from yellow to red as if he is trying to show off with the skittish female one underneath. Threatening the enemies and engaging partners in the mating season by changing color is a common behavior of reptiles

 

 

 

On the high branch of a tree, the pig-tailed monkey Macaca nemestrina was enjoying his delectable breakfast while looking at me with scrutinizing eyes and not a bit friendly of a boisterous forest owner

 

 

 

Two rangers were struggling transporting valuable logs which were illegally exploited. Despite of the extremely difficult roads and well protected forests, forest destroyers still have logged sneakily. Many endemic lady slipper orchid species were stolen and sold with a very low price 1-2 dollar/kg while they worth thousands dollar to orchid collectors in Europe or Taiwan.

 

 

 

Under the fierce sunlight, sweat, or even blood of rangers have fallen to protect the wild nature of Vietnam for our next generations. I indeed appreciate for all the difficulties that they have been bearing in their work. 

 

 

 

After a hard journey of climbing over nearly vertical steeps and passing through the large Dipterocarpaceae forests, I discovered a bunch of plants of Ginger Family, Zingiberaceae which is included in Vietnam's Red Book: Forest ghost flower Aeginetia indica. This species, which is believed to enhance the sexual ability of men, only live parasitically on ginger family trees and often flower in rainy season.

 

 

 

On a branch of a woody vine were the bright red flowers which a couple of Gould's sunbird Aethopyga goutdiae were enjoying for dinner

 

 

 

In the rough bark of an old chestnut tree are the flowers of Bulbophyllum orchid, Bulbophyllum putidum, blooming red to deceive male insects to help them pollinate

 

 

Suddenly on a high hidden branch of a tree, I noticed a very nice species of Bulbophyllum orchid, Bulbophyllum repens which had not been included in Vietnam plant list yet. Soon I would surely announce the distribution of this species on an international orchid magazine.

 

 

The rain forest came so fast that we could only cover the equipments and camera with rain coat and stayed wet under the heavy rain. After one hour the rain stopped but shallow streams became deep, strong flowing and insurmountable waters. We only could stop at the height of 1,500 m to wait for the water to be low down while looking at the steam clouds surrounding the imposing mountains beyond the valley.

 

 

Finally, the final flaming red rays of the day appear on the sky and shine through the foliage in the evergreen forests

 

 

Holding the binoculars, I stood still watching the Gaur Bos gaurus feeding peacefully in their homes. This was the first time I’d ever seen this scene in Vietnam with my own eyes, a herd of Gaur with 12 individuals including offspring. But it was a pity that the 50-500mm lens of my camera was not good enough to capture this very moment in my life.

 

 

Finally, the final flaming red rays of the day appear on the sky and shine through the foliage in the evergreen forests

 

 

Darkness covered on our way back to the ranger station of the National Park Phuoc Binh. Walking on the trail, I realized the sunset here was extraordinary beautiful. Maybe because of my career, to me the forest is not a scary and dangerous place, but it gives me the feelings of safety, peace and is where many species coexist, including human.

 

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