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Investigating the diversity, abundance, and distribution of marine mammals in Vietnamese Southwest coast
The conservation status of marine mammals inhabiting the Southwest coast of Vietnam has never been fully documented. Current information suggests the presence of at least nine species of marine mammals this area (Smith et al. 1997, Hines et al. 2007, Vu et al. 2015), including the only relatively recently described Omura’s whales (Wada et al. 2003).
Unfortunately, the lack of systematic surveys in this area had led to enormous data gaps on the diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine mammals. Filling these data gaps can simultaneously advance marine mammal sciences in Vietnam and provide the necessary information needed for conservation management at the national and international level.
A multi-disciplinary approach for investigating the ecology of dugongs in Con Dao Archipelago, Vietnam
This highly collaborative project aims to ascertain the distribution patterns of the charismatic dugong (Dugong dugon) in Con Dao Archipelago. Little is known about the dugong population that inhabiting this national level marine protected area. Few available literatures confirmed the presence of dugongs in Con Dao Archipelago, but provided little information to interpret the distributional patterns of these animals.
It is unclear if the observed dugong were passing through the area, or if Con Dao Archipelago is an important habitat for the species’ life cycle. Also, the frequency of dugong’s presence in Con Dao area are unclear because the absence of effective monitoring programs. Such uncertainties expose potentially important habitat of dugong to anthropological activities and disturbances.
With a coastline of 3,260 km (2,030 mi), excluding islands, it is a given that Vietnam sees many stranding cases of Cetacean and marine turtle every year. However, due to lack of training for local authorities and coastline communities, only a few cases were responded with appropriate actions in order to keep involved individuals safe, to save animals and to record precious data of marine mammals.
In terms of conservation, successfully rescuing and releasing endangered Cetacean and marine turtle species can advance their populations which are already data gaps on science of Vietnam marine animals. On one hand, rescuing them, especially dolphins and whales which are considered as flagship species, can benefit in raising awareness for conservation and connecting diverse science communities.