Ho Chi Minh City Artist Wins Cat Ba Langur Design Contest
September 5, 2012
Đỗ Ngọc Duyến of Ho Chi Minh City took first place on Wednesday in a contest to design a mural featuring Vietnam’s Cat Ba langur. U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam David B. Shear presented the award, which was co-sponsored by the U.S. Embassy and the Cat Ba Langur Conservation Project, an NGO working to protect the critically endangered langur, which is found only in Cat Ba National Park.
Mr. Duyến’s mural design was selected by a panel of judges to adorn the entrance to Cat Ba National Park. Speaking about his design, Mr. Duyến expressed his strong affinity toward the langurs of Cat Ba Island, which is close to his hometown of Hai Phong. Designs were submitted from every region of Vietnam after the contest was announced on U.S. Embassy’s social media websites.
In the 1960s, there were an estimated 3,000 Cat Ba langurs on Cat Ba Island, the only natural habitat of this golden-headed langur species. Today, there are less than 70 individuals, primarily due to poaching. The Cat Ba Langur Conservation Project has worked to protect the langurs by creating a langur sanctuary inside Cat Ba National Park; raising awareness of the need to protect the langurs among island residents; and recruiting residents to serve as “langur guards” who stop and report wildlife crimes. Mr. Passaro is currently working to relocate two isolated female langurs to the sanctuary where they will join a larger population of langurs.
This contest is the most recent U.S. Embassy initiative to raise awareness in Vietnam of the dangers of wildlife poaching and trafficking. In May, Ambassador Shear joined with local NGO Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) to declare the U.S. Mission a “Wildlife Safety Zone,” asking all Mission staff to pledge not to consume wildlife and to report all wildlife crimes. On August 31, the U.S. Embassy partnered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Public Security, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and others to discuss combating transnational crimes such as wildlife trafficking. The U.S. government also helps protect Vietnam’s wildlife through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) program.