Vietnam - Nature and Wildlife
Vietnam is ranked 16th in the world according to biological diversity and is home to approximately 16% of the world’s species. These species include 15,986 varieties of flora, 10% of which are endemic to the country, 310 mammals, 840 birds, 260 reptiles, 120 amphibians and 7,750 types of insects. Vietnam was once covered in forests including mangrove swamps and dense forests in the mountainous regions, however, the forests have been gradually pushed back as a result of land clearing for agricultural purposes.
A rapid increase in population as well as the horrible effects of the Vietnam War have also caused concern for the environment in Vietnam. Some animals have witnessed declining numbers due to the poverty found in the country. While illegal, the rewards for poaching and for logging outweigh the risk of being caught for some of the population.
In response to these concerns, the government of Vietnam has taken action. The government spent US$49.07 million on preservation projects in 2004 alone. They have established 126 conservation areas and within these conservation areas are 28 national parks. Reforestation projects have been put in place and levels of protection have intensified preventing development on many parts of the country. As a result of these actions, recent years have witnessed signs of recovery in Vietnam’s landscape.
Vietnam is home to six biosphere reserves: Can Gio Mangrove Forest, Cat Tien, Cat Ba, Kien Giang, the Red River Delta and Western Nghe An. It is also home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, two of which are classified as natural: Halong Bay and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.
Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, Halong Bay was inscribed in 1994 and consists of around 1,600 islands and islets. It has been described as “the picture of unspoiled nature” as most of the islands are uninhabited they are therefore unspoiled by human activities. The limestone pillars have gone through 500 million years of formation and present an amazing seascape which makes it a popular travel destination. In 2012, Halong Bay was designated as one of the new seven natural wonders of the world.
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park was inscribed in 2003 and is the oldest major karst area in Asia. The national park spreads over 85,754 ha and hosts a vast array of biodiversity including aquatic habitats, primary and secondary forests, tropical forests and incredible caves. It is rich in species diversity and many endemic species are found there as well as threatened species like tigers, Asiatic black bears, Asian elephants, Asian wild dogs and the giant munjac.
Other species that are common in Vietnam include water buffalos, otters, crocodiles, monkeys and primates and wild boars. The large forests are home to various large cats including tigers, leopards and snow leopards. Wild oxen, various varieties of bears and deer are also found in the forests. Vietnam hosts the endemic gray-shanked douc, one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world. Located on the East Asian Flyway, Vietnam is an important stopover for migratory birds who are en route from Siberian breeding grounds to Australia where they spend the winter. A coastal reserve has been established on the mouth of the Red River to protect these birds as they make their journey.
Vietnam Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy to navigate travel information section dedicated to Vietnam.
Learn about the history and culture of Vietnam, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Vietnam's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Vietnam for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Vietnam tours today!
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