This is a momentous moment for wildlife enthusiasts, as the only known viable population of white-cheeked crested gibbons have been discovered in the Vietnamese highlands. Conservation International have been working for three years in north-central Vietnam but had never uncovered a population larger than a dozen groups. A year ago, focus changed to Pu Mat National Park, located in northern Vietnam’s Nghe An province, where scientists working with Conservation International scoured the remote jungle landscape before the magical discovery.
The gibbons were tracked through their thundering, elaborate and amplified mating calls. These calls have a purpose – the gibbons are among only 6% of primates who form monogamous partnerships and personalise a song for them, each of which were tracked and identified by the scientists through auditory surveying. The scientists confirmed that there was a population of 130 groups, amounting to an impressive 455 gibbons.
The significance of uncovering these gibbons is decisive for the white-cheeked species, for it triples the species’ total population. As Dr. Russell A. Mittermeier, Chair of the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group and President of Conservation International explains, “This is an extraordinarily significant find, and underscores the immense importance of protected areas in providing the last refuges for the region’s decimated wildlife.” The species was historically found in China and Laos as well as Vietnam, but is now functionally extinct in China and unfortunately largely unknown in Laos.
The white-cheeked crested gibbons join the range of exotic species currently in Vietnam. From pelicans, Indochinese tigers, Indian elephants, green sea turtles and red-shanked douk monkeys, Vietnam has a vibrant array of wildlife. This latest discovery gives great hope for the future of this beautiful primate, with hopes that the groups will thrive alongside the other wild animals unique to Vietnam. As Ben Rawson, regional primate expert for Conservation International, explains, “We are extremely excited about this discovery. Pu Mat was already important for its great diversity of species and for its benefits to the surrounding communities, and now it is a top priority for global gibbon conservation.”
See these beautiful creatures in the wild below – beautiful, aren’t they?
584 masseuses gathered on Kata Beach in Thailand on Friday 19th August 2011 to set an unofficial and unprecedented new world record of the most people simultaneously performing a Thai massage.
The standing world record was set in March 2011 in Australia, with 232 pairs of hands, but this has been doubled by the hundreds of hands working in unison in Thailand. The reason that exactly 584 people were invited to join the event is very special; ‘5’ represents the birthday of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and ‘84’ represents the age of the king this year, the world’s longest-reigning monarch.
The event was held on the picturesque Kata Beach, the perfect location for a relaxing massage for those lucky hotel guests who received the free massages. The event carried on into the evening, with health exhibitions presented by a range of spas from the surrounding area, including Phuket and Krabi.
This occasion was the third of five such events to make up the ‘Nuad (massage) Thai for World Record’ campaign, organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The country can now invite Guinness World Records to watch and accredit their official world record attempt in November 2011, to be held in Bangkok. This memorable occasion was a testament to the passion that the locals have for the art of massage.
Source: Phuket News
For the first time in over a decade, India has seen a significant rise in its Bengal tiger population, with greater growth projected over the next five years. The current estimated population of 1,706 tigers shows a 20 per cent increase from the last survey, which was taken back in 2006.
According to India’s Environment and Forests Ministry, the largest population shifts occurred in the areas of Corbett and Kaziranga national parks, highly contributed to factors such as greater protection and stability provided for the animals.
Researchers who study the wildlife community have suggested this growth may or may not be accurate based on issues such as climate change. “A 10 per cent increase is good news and very significant, but you can always fudge the figures if you want to, whatever counting method you use” said MK Ranjitsinh, the Chairman of the Wildlife Trust of India.
Ameen Ahmed of the group WWF India which specialises in fighting for conservation of the region’s wildlife was quick to point out that a greater rise in the tiger population means human safety could be at risk. “Where there is an area with good prey, like the area of Sambar, aggression amongst male tigers increases and in some cases this may lead to man-tiger conflict”, said Mr Ahmed.
Belinda Wright, a respected tiger conservationist, suggested that the shrinking of the corridors and boundaries for the tigers will reduce interbreeding and imprison them in fenced sanctuaries. “We need to have free-ranged tigers for their natural growth”, she stated.
As a popular attraction for tourists from around the world, it is hoped that the news of growth in the tiger population will give way to more tourism in India.
Source: The Telegraph