Bac Lieu Bird Park
The largest date palm primitive forest in the country, which cannot be found any elsewhere
Since the last few decades, Vietnam had become one of the great touristic destinations. It is a developing country with great potential, but there are also aspects which sometimes we let pass unnoted.
In Vietnam, there are over 30 national parks, the ones that are mostly paid attention to are: The Cat Ba national park, The Cuc Phuong national park, The Phong Nha- Ke Bang national park, The Cham Island and The Cat Tien national park.
It is only natural that with that amount of national parks that the country has to offer, the tourists are attracted to but the ones that have been imprinted inside the tour programs for years, and be completely unaware of the existence of the primitive mangrove forest with more than 100 years of history located in the city of the Mekong Delta. The Bac Lieu Bird Park.
One would feel that he enters a completely new world when he steps over the park.
Here the only traces of humans are some asphalt roads, a head office of the park and the canals that brings water to the different areas of the park. The things people can see here mostly are trees, vines, weeds, birds and saltwater fishes.
If going further to the forest, one would see no trace of a modern life, because there are only trees and the sounds from birds and wild animals.
According to Nguyen Trung Chanh, Director of the bird park, said the park covers an area of 130 hectares, of which primitive date palm forest alone amounts to 70 percent.
“This is the largest date palm primitive forest in the country, which cannot be found any elsewhere,” Chanh said.
With the full mangrove biodiversity, 150 animal species and 109 plant species and dozens of species listed in the Vietnamese Red Book, the Bac Lieu Bird Park is invaluable.
However, to date, the valuable treasure still has not been put under a special protection. Especially, it still has been open for visitors, free of charge.
“People always think that admission tickets can be issued only after a heavy investment is made,” Chanh explained. “People don’t have an impartial viewpoint about the bird park’s value.”
What worries Chanh and the 30 workers of the bird park is that the society still cannot see the high value of the bird park, thus letting the park exposed to the big threats.
Chanh complained that the threats to the bird parks have been increasing. “We are meeting big difficulties in the fight against the poaching and the bird park compromise,” he said.
The big threats
According to the Tropical Biology Institute, in 2003, the Bac Lieu bird park had 70,000 bird individuals. Ten years ago, the institute reported that only 40,000-50,000 individuals existed. This means that 2,000 individuals were lost each year in the last 10 years.
Scientists have warned that the production activities around the park that causes noise, the poachers and the rise of the restaurants nearby all threat the lives of the birds.
In early July, Chanh sent a report to the Bac Lieu provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development about the increasing bird poaching.
Chanh worries that the methods poachers use to hunt for birds may lead to a disaster: the birds may leave the bird park forever and look for new “accommodations.”
Chanh admitted that the park’s leadership stays powerless to the poachers, saying that the punishment is not heavy enough to deter them. The poachers were set free after they were arrested and they have returned to the old job – poaching.
In early July, two poachers were arrested with 99 young birds. However, they were just disciplined before the public and then got released. Meanwhile, the 99 birds could be sold at over VND3 million, which means the poachers, should have been subject to the criminal prosecution.Thien Nhien for VietNamNet Bridge