Limestone mine exploited, silver gibbons lose their homes
  • | VietnamNet | December 14, 2011 11:56 PM
There are hundreds of precious plants and animals species living in the limestone mountain of Kien Luong in Kien Giang Province, including silver gibbons (Trachypithecus cristatus). However, the biodiversity of the Kien Luong area has been threatened.

Silver gibbons lose their homes

The Hon Chong Cement plant

Nguyen Van Thanh, alocal resident living near the Bai Voi Mountain related that in the past, Bai Voi was very high with a lot of trees, which gathered a lot of birds and wild beasts. However, since people exploit limestone to make cement, nearly all the plants have been killed. The animals who lived on the mountain have no more accommodations.

The Hon Chong and Ha Tien cement plans alone every year need hundreds of thousands of tonnes of limestone to make cement, and they have also contributed to the elimination of many limestone mountains in Kien Luong.

Scientists have voiced their worry that the limestone exploitation on Bai Voi Mountain has directly threatened the lives of 23 silver gibbons living here. Currently, the gibbons are living and seeking food on a small area of 15 hectares which has not been exploited. They cannot move to other places to seek food because the parts of the mountain have been split.

Also at the Kien Luong limestone mountain complex, Khe La Mountain has become the place for limestone exploitation. There are 78 gibbons living on the mountain. According to Dr Nguyen Xuan Niem, Deputy Director of the Kien Giang Science and Technology Department, the limestone exploitation by Holcim has threatened the population of gibbons on Bai Voi and Khe La.

“Holcim must take the responsibility of rescuing the herd of 23 gibbons on Bai Voi Mountain. As for the herd of gibbon on Khe La Mountain, the exploiter should have to take responsibility of protecting the 78 gibbons, but they have not found out any feasible measures. We now have to work out on the measures to build new houses for the silver gibbons,” Niem said.

The problem not only in losing the mountai

Phan Van Hung, Deputy Director of the Hon Dat – Kien Ha forest, said that Indochina gibbon is an important primate species which is typical for the Kien Luong limestone mountains, which have been in the danger of getting extinct.

To date, Indochina gibbons have been found only in two places, including the Phu Quoc national park and the limestone mountains in Kien Luong.

Hung said that it is urgent to find out the solutions to protect the silver gibbons , and that he is making a research on relocating the silver gibbon population from Khe La mountain to Hon Chong area.

According to Dr. Niem, not many limestone mountains still exist, while scientists believe that the Kien Luong limestone Mountain area has the highest tropical biodiversity in the world. Here some new species have been found, which do not exist elsewhere in the world, especially some kinds of insects and snails. However, the limestone exploitation here has created big challenges to the environment. Therefore, losing the mountain is not the biggest concern but losing the biodiversity is. 

“We have proposed the Kien Giang province authorities to set up a limestone protection area or it is too late,” Niem said. 

Thai Thanh Luom, Director of the Kien Gian Department of Natural Resources and Environment has confirmed that such a protection area project is being considered. The area would include the limestone mountain left and the protective forest of Hon Dat-Kien Ha, which includes Hon Chong Mountain.a

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