Tram Chim National Park in Tam Nong District, Dong Thap Province is the habitat of red-head cranes (scientifically known as Grus Antigone Sharpii), a species of bird listed in the World’s Red Book. However, the number of red-head cranes going to Tram Chim has decreased over the years that requires scientists, authorities and locals to make joint efforts to protect the “Red- head cranes’ house”.
Tram Chim National Park, a vast submerged cajuput and nan grass area in Tam Nong District, Dong Thap Province, constitutes a balanced ecosystem abundant in food for omnivorous animals. Particularly, it is the habitat of red-head cranes (scientifically known as Grus Antigone Sharpii), a species of bird listed in the World’s Red Book.
With a system of swamps, grass-plots and criss-crossing canals, the 7,612 ha Tram Chim National Park has become an ideal habitat of more than 130 species of plants, 100 vertebrates, 40 species of fish, 147 rare and precious species of birds, especially the red-head cranes. Hence, it is also an ideal place for scientists to research into the life of migratory birds.
In 1985 when red-head cranes appeared in Tram Chim National Park, scientists held a workshop in China to find out measures to preserve them and develop Tram Chim National Park in Tam Nong Natural Site into a typical cultural and ecological tourist area in Southeast Asia.
Since then, many international organizations have participated in researching into red-head cranes in Tram Chim, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resource (IUCN) and others. In February 1994, Tram Chim officially became the national nature conserve zone under the Prime Minister’s decision, where the State invested more than VND four billion, the Bhrem Fund of Germany granted USD 15,000, and the UK and Danish Embassy donated USD 60,000 to the protection of the “Red-head cranes’ house” and the improvement of Tram Chim’s buffer zone. In 1995, ICF wanted to conduct surveys on the breeding sites of red-head cranes and in March 1998 scientists began putting electronic tracking rings worth USD 10,000 on cranes to observe their migration and reproduction. The activity was funded by the Japanese Government with the participation of American, Japanese and Vietnamese scientists. The signals received from red-head cranes provide good information for scientists to research into the red-head cranes’ migration and reproduction.
At present, the house of red-head cranes is in danger. The number of red-head cranes going to Tram Chim has decreased over the past 20 years from 1,052 in 1988, to 631 in 1996 and 159 in 2004. It was attributed to the changes of living environment, repeated floods, the newly-built irrigation system, encroachment by locals, etc.
The red-head cranes in Tram Chim, Dong Thap, constitute one of the 15 species in the World’ Red Book in danger of extinction that need more supports from international organizations.
Vietnam - (24/08/2005)