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Can hunting and conservation of endemic Annamite ungulates be reconciled?

Darwin Initiative

This project worked to inform more effective conservation of the globally important Annamite mountains. The Annamites, which are called Trường Sõn in Vietnamese and Phou Luang in Lao, line the border between these two nations. They are home to a unique, poorly-known and highly-threatened community of hoofed mammals (ungulates) including the critically endangered Saola Pseudoryx nghetinhensis. The main threat to these animals appears to be from hunting.

Between September 2009 and August 2012 our project:

  1. conducted what we saw as the critical research needed to guide conservation on the Saola and other ungulates.
  2. worked with universities in Vietnam and the UK to provide relevant training for Vietnamese students in conservation, and to develop relevant materials.
  3. worked with government and NGO partners in Vietnam to ensure that our work best informed real conservation decisions.



  • Community mapping in the Hue-Quang Nam 'Saola Landscape' and also in Nghe An and Ha Tinh. This gives us an idea of the actual extent of the forest areas which local people use and know; these may be larger than expected.
  • Collecting interview data about ungulate distribution and status, based on our community mapping work above. We hope to investigate how we can use this local knowledge in planning conservation of flagship species.
  • Developing teaching materials in conservation science for Vietnamese students; including manuals to all the survey methods we developed.
  • Developing protocols for forest guard patrol teams to collect more reliable data on threats and biodiversity indicators.
  • Supporting Vietnamese masters students from Vinh and Hue Universities to complete their theses on related subjects.
  • Piloting a new method to use leeches to detect mammals – with the Centre for Geo-Genetics, Copenhagen.
  • Researching the urban demand for wild meat in Vietnam - with Milica Sandalj, University of Hohenheim.

Basic socio-economic data on potential hunters in the Hue-Quang Nam landscape (with CORENARM and the CarBi project)

Research to come


  • Prioritization of areas for the conservation of Saola and other ungulates, using local knowledge and a novel analytical approach
  • Developing a bio-economic approach to estimating the amount of effort needed to conserve the Saola in the Hue-Quang Nam landscape.
  • Investigating the potential of data collected by patrols for conservation planning.
  • Investigating the potential of surveys of local knowledge for conservation planning.


The project's main partners in Vietnam were:

Much of our training work was conducted in collaboration with the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) at the University of Kent.

We worked in the Vietnamese national parks of: Bach Ma, Pu Mat and Vu Quang. We also worked in the new Saola Nature Reserves in Thua Thien Hue and Quang Nam province, as well as Pu Huong Nature Reserve in Nghe An.

We also collaborated with the following institutions: