The photographs were taken using “camera traps” set in Laos’ Nakai Nam Theun National Protected Area (NNT NPA), in the Annamite Mountains. This densely forested mountain chain straddles the Laos-Vietnam border and is considered one the world's biodiversity ‘hotspots.’ The cameras were set by staff of the WMPA, a new institution established by the Lao government to manage the more than 1,500 s quare miles of (4,000 square kilometer) protected area, using revenues from the nearby Nam Theun 2 hydroelectric dam, currently under construction. The protected area forms most of the dam's watershed, and is the largest protected area in Laos or Vietnam. The camera traps were set and monitored by teams (including local villagers) trained by the Wildlife Conservation Society, which has been contracted by the WMPA to help establish a biodiversity monitoring program to evaluate the effectiveness of its conservation efforts.
Mr. Sangthong Southammakoth, Executive Director of the WMPA, said “We are very excited about these photos. They show the global significance of the Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area, and reinforce the importance of our work.”
Along with several photographs of large-antlered muntjacs was a single photograph of the Annamite striped rabbit, one of the world's rarest and least-known members of the rabbit/hare family. Both species are found only in the Annamites. The large-antlered muntjac was discovered in the early 1990s, when researchers in Laos and Vietnam simultaneously noted its distinctive antlers in the homes of local hunters. Researchers first discovered the rabbit in a fresh food market in Laos, in a small town near Nakai-Nam Theun, by a biologist working for WCS, Robert Timmins (Timmins was also involved in the discovery of the muntjac). The rabbit was subsequently photographed a few times in Vietnam, but this is the first wild photograph from Laos.
“This region is extraordinary for it’s distinctive wildlife,” said Dr. Arlyne Johnson, co-director of the WCS Lao Program, “We are delighted to be working with the WMPA to ensure a future for not only the large-antlered muntjac and Annamite striped rabbit, but the many other rare species that call this globally important region their home.”
Despite previous camera-trapping efforts in the large-antlered muntjac’s presumed range in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, no previous wild photographs of the animal are known. Yet the effort in Nakai-Nam Theun yielded more than ten photographs of the species from several localities. The results indicate that Nakai-Nam Theun is a global stronghold for this threatened animal.
Nakai-Nam Theun is home to several other endangered animals, such as the extremely rare saola – an antelope-like animal, also discovered in the 1990s and known only from the Annamites – plus tigers, Asian elephants, and what is considered one of the world's most beautiful monkeys, the red-shanked douc. Recent surveys identified what are thought to be more new species of animals and plants, but this awaits verification.
One of the WMPA's responsibilities is enforcement against poaching of wildlife, with patrol teams (again, incorporating local residents) trained in part by the Wildlife Conservation Society. Three days after the rabbit was photographed, the same camera in the same place photographed two hunters carrying guns, equipped for night-time poaching. “Hunting in Laos is a long standing tradition,” said Mr. Sangthong, “but people must respect the laws that our government has put in place to protect the county’s valuable wildlife.” The WMPA is investigating the case.
Stephen Sautner | EurekAlert!
International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
World Water Day 2017: It doesn’t Always Have to Be Drinking Water – Using Wastewater as a Resource
17.03.2017 | ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy