Vietnam and other nations across the world are coping with challenges in preserving species of primates since the animals are under the threat of extinction due to illegal poaching and trafficking, and fewer natural habitat areas, a senior Vietnamese official has said.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan raised the concern at the 25th Congress of the International Primatological Society that opened in Hanoi on August 12.

During the five-day event, nearly 900 experts from 56 countries and territories worldwide will discuss topics relevant to the evolution, genetics, ecology, breeding in captivity, primatology and preservation of primates.

Vietnam boasts a rich biodiversity of rare and precious wildlife, with 26 primate species and sub-species out of 612 recognised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), namely Vooc mui hech (Tonkin snub-nosed monkey or Rhinopithecus avunculus), Vooc mong trang (Delacour's langur or Trachypithecus delacouri), Vooc Cat Ba (white-headed langur or Trachypithecus poliocephalus), and Cha va chan xam (gray-shanked douc langur or Pygathrix cinerea) which are all indigenous.

The country has refined its law on natural preservation and built a system of special-purpose forests sprawling over 2.2 million ha, including 30 national parks and 114 sanctuaries, Tuan said.

President of the International Primatological Society Tetsuro Matsuzawa praised Vietnam for its efforts to conserve primates.

Established in 1993, the endangered primate rescue centre based in Cuc Phuong national park, the northern province of Ninh Binh, has saved over 260 individuals, bred 240 of 12 species, and released over 50 back to the wild.

Other similar centres are also operating well in Ho Chi Minh City’s outlying district of Cu Chi, Cat Tien national park in the southern province of Dong Nai, and Hon Me island in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang.

The biennial event will also display 150 posters featuring the world achievements in primate protection.-VNA