Category Archives: VN EPWG News

Annual Meeting of Edwards’s Pheasant working group in Vietnam, 4-5/5/2017

On the 4th and 5th May 2017, the annual meeting of the Vietnam Edwards’s Pheasant Working Group (VN-EPWG) was held in Dong Hoi city, Quang Binh province, under the sponsorship of Quang Binh Forest Protection Department and Viet Nature Conservation Centre. Representatives from the World Pheasant Association and Paignton Zoo (U.K.) were also present at the meeting.

The aim of the meeting is to provide updates on the implementation of the Action Plan for the Conservation of the Edwards’s pheasant 2015-2020 with vision to 2030 during the period May 2016 to April 2017 and share information on the conservation breeding of pheasant species (Phasianidae) as well as the preparation for the Edwards’s Pheasant conservation breeding programme in Vietnam. Participants also visited Khe Nuoc Trong project site and the proposed site for the first Edwards’s Pheasant conservation breeding station and environmental education centre of Viet Nature (within the framework of Khe Nuoc Trong project) in Le Thuy district, Quang Binh province.

Selected photos from the meeting

Participants at EP workshop in Dong Hoi May 2017Participants at the Edwards’s Pheasant workshop

Back row (l-r): Pham Duc Hoa, Dong Chau Watershed Protection Forest Management Board; Le Van Quy, Quang Tri  Forest Protection Department (FPD); Nguyen Cu, Ornithologist; Le Van Bao, Le Thuy District People’s Committee; Dao Quang Canh,  Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve (NR); Cao Dang Viet, retired, Quang Tri FPD; Ngo Xuan Tuong, Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources; Dionne Slagter, Endangered Asian Species Trust;

Middle row (l-r): Nguyen Thai Son,  Ke Go NR; Ho Van Tuyen, Kim Thuy Commune People’s Committee; Nguyen Viet Ninh, Ke Go NR; Le Quoc Khanh, Bach Ma National Park; Ngo Kim Thai,  Dakrong NR; Jo Gregson, Paignton Zoo (U.K);

Front row (l-r): Le Minh Hue, Viet Nature; Nguyen Thi Thu Ngan, Hanoi Zoo; Le Trong Trai, Viet Nature; Dang Vu Tru, Phong Dien NR; Pham Tuan Anh, Viet Nature; Dang Gia Tung, Vietnam Zoos Association; John Corder, World Pheasant Association; Nguyen Thi Van Anh, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment; Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, Quang Binh Department for Foreign Affairs.

EP workshop May 2017-Dong Hoi-Quang BinhThe Edwards’s Pheasant workshop

Quang Binh FPD DirectorMr Pham Hong Thai – Director of Quang Binh FPD – giving speech at the workshop

Chairman of Le Thuy District PCMr Le Van Bao – Chairman of Le Thuy District People’s Committee – speaking at the workshop

Ho Tuyen, Chairman of Kim Thuy CommuneMr Ho Van Tuyen – Chairman of Kim Thuy Commune People’s Committee – speaking at the workshop

WPA-Vice ChairmanMr John Corder – World Pheasant Association – sharing his experience in pheasant species conservation breeding

IMG_5074Ms Jo Gregson – Paignton Zoo (U.K) – sharing her experience in pheasant species conservation breeding

Vice-Chairman of Vietnam zoo AssociationMr Dang Gia Tung – Vice President of Vietnam Zoos Association – summarizing historical records of the Edwards’s Pheasant

Hanoi zooMs Nguyen Thi Thu Ngan – Hanoi Zoo – reporting about  the Edwards’s Pheasant breeding programme at Hanoi Zoo 5/2016 – 4/2017

Biodiversity Conservaion Agency-Govt.Ms Nguyen Thi Van Anh – Biodiversity Conservation Agency, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment – speaking at the workshop

Dr. Nguyen Cu ConservationistMr Nguyen Cu – Ornithologist – speaking at the workshop

Dr. Ngo Xuan Tuong IEBRMr Ngo Xuan Tuong – Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources – speaking at the workshop

1.Site visit-Conservation Breeding AreaVisiting the proposed site for the first Edwards’s Pheasant conservation breeding station and environmental education centre of Viet Nature

2.Visiting Khe Nuoc Trong Project siteVisiting Khe Nuoc Trong project site

Viet Nature Team at EP workshop in Dong Hoi May 2017Viet Nature staff at the Edwards’s Pheasant workshop

(l-r) Tran Dang Hieu, Ha Van Nghia, Pham Tuan Anh, Le Trong Trai, Le Minh Hue, Tran Thi Ly, Le Cong Tinh

Efforts are underway to reintroduce Edwards’s pheasant back into the wild

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Edwards’s Pheasant (Lophura edwardsi) | By Don Butler

The white framed faces of the Red-shanked Douc monkeys look out from the canopy of Khe Nuoc Trong forests in Le Thuy district, Quang Binh province. In the distance, the calls of White-cheeked Gibbons echo through the early morning stillness. Browsing in the shadows of the forest floor are Giant and Annamite muntjac, and perhaps Saola, only discovered by science in the 1990s. These and many other rare and endangered species can be found in this forest, a jewel of bio-diversity in one of the most bio-diverse regions on the planet.

But Ke Nuoc Trong is not a pristine paradise. An important part of the forest’s biological heritage is missing: Edward’s Pheasant, once found only in the lowland forests of Central Vietnam, has not been seen in the wild since 2000.

This beautiful bird, whose males are iridescent blue with a flash of red on the face and a white crest, was discovered in 1896 and recorded by French ornithologists in the 1920s and early 1930s. It then went unrecorded for almost 60 years until 1996. Sadly, not long after being rediscovered, it vanished again. Extensive surveys of its favored haunts have found no trace of it.

The centre of this species’s historic homeland lay in Quang Tri province, the site of the Demilitarized Zone during the American War, which suffered the fiercest fighting and the most aggressive use of herbicides. During this conflict, which ended in 1975, 72 million litters of herbicides, including the infamous ‘agent orange’, were sprayed on forests and fields.

Edwards's Pheasant, Lophura edwardsi, standing in front of white background

Since then, increasing human populations and demand for agricultural land have further reduced any habitat which is suitable for Edward’s pheasant. Some forests look intact with regrown or replanted trees but are devoid of animals because they have been hunted for food or illegal trade. Populations of Edwards’s pheasant were reduced, fragmented and left fragile. Snares set for bush-meat may have caught the last individuals, causing this species to go extinct in the wild.

Edwards’s Pheasant at Mulhouse Zoo, France | By Eric Isselee

However, there is good news. Sometime in the 1920s, at least 14 pairs of Edwards’s Pheasant were captured and sent to France. This small, exiled population has done well. There are currently over 1000 birds in collections across the world, including birds in the Hanoi zoo. Some may not be purebred Edwards’s Pheasant but genetic analysis is currently underway to find the best genetic stock. The plan is to select the range. It will take at least five to seven years but, if successful, these birds could be released back into the wild. Of course, the wild bird must be ready to receive them. Efforts are being made to locate any remaining populations of Edwards’s Pheasants in pockets of suitable habitat within larger blocks of forest. Measures are being implemented to restore and safeguard other potential pheasant habitats. One of the greatest threats to the success of a reintroduction program would be hunting, so Viet Nature Conservation centre (Viet Nature), together with their partners, are aiming to eradicate hunting at key sites: Ke Nuoc Trong, Bac Huong Hoa, Dakrong, Phong Dien and Ke Go Nature Reservers.

The first steps towards establishing an Edwards’s pheasant breeding program have already been taken. With the support of local and international partners, Viet Nature will build a breeding station and environmental education centre on five hectares of land in Quang Binh province (outside any reserve for biosecurity reasons).

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Edward Pheasant at Lyon zoo, France | By Emmanuelle Gaujour

Right now the Edwards’s pheasant ex-situ conservation community, including staff at Hanoi Zoo, and zoos and private breeders in Europe, are selecting the best birds for the breeding program. Four birds were sent to Hanoi Zoo in 2015 to breed with descendants of the only wild male caught in 1997.

Establishing a viable breeding group of Edwards’s pheasant is just the first step. Release into the wild will take more time, trial and error. in the spring of 2017, the Year of the Rooster, the first aviaries with a few pairs of Edwards’s pheasant will be built at the breeding station. It’s hoped that by the next year of the Rooter, sustainable population of Edwards’s pheasant may be found in the wild in its homeland.

At the core of these efforts to return once species of bird to its natural home is the restoration of Vietnam’s forests. Forests provide the basics of life – clean air and clean water. They are a buffer against the threat of climate change. For Vietnamese people forests are something more: they signify the survival of the unique beauty of Vietnam’s landscapes and culture. What better symbol of that survival than this beautiful bird, its feathers flashing in the dappled light, rejoicing in the life-giving rain?

Source: Viet Nature Conservation centre (May 2017) The Edwards’s Pheasant Heritage (Vietnam airlines inflight magazine)