The rugged Annamite mountain range runs north-south, parallel to Viet Nam’s coast, and forms the national border between Laos and Viet Nam. The Annamites host some spectacular and highly threatened wildlife species that exist nowhere else.
The forested valleys, limestone karst hills and vertiginous mountains of the Annamites acted as an evolutionary laboratory, as refugia during the glacial periods, creating a myriad of unique life forms endemic to this mountain range.
Many large mammals have been discovered in these mountains, including the Saola, which in 1992 was the first large mammal described by science in over 50 years, including the large-antlered muntjac and Annamite striped rabbit, and many others that are found nowhere else on earth.
The endemic species of the Annamites are a priceless natural treasure, and many species are yet to be discovered.
Habitat is being lost and degraded, and hunting pressure from snares is decimating populations of ground-dwelling animals. The illegal trade in wildlife as meat, medicine and pets is pushing many species closer to extinction. We stand to lose them forever – some even before they are discovered.
Millions of snares are estimated to be active at any given time in the forests of Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam, including in most parts of the Annamites. The snaring crisis is driven mainly by the illegal wildlife trade to supply high-priced species to the wildlife meat and traditional medicine markets. Snares are easy and inexpensive to set. They kill and maim wildlife indiscriminately, killing animals with no value in the trade, along with those that can be sold for profit. Numerous animals are caught but never retrieved, left to die of dehydration, starvation or infection from their wounds.
In recent years, logging and deforestation have also increased, as has the demolition of karst hills for cement production, dealing yet another blow to the unique wildlife of the Annamites and pushing many species closer to extinction.
This report highlights some of the amazing endemic wildlife of the Annamites that have become endangered due to hunting and collection for wildlife t Trap found by WWF-Viet Nam forest guard on the trade and consumption.