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Wild nature in Cat Tien

Follow in the footsteps of Nguyen Anh to know more about an amazing natural world in Cat Tien National Park.

Nguyen Anh The (commonly known as Andy Nguyen, born in 1984), a wildlife photography enthusiast, lives in Ho Chi Minh City and is also a guide of wildlife tours in Vietnam. He is also the owner of the Vietnambirds website , introducing bird and wildlife observation tours, including Cat Tien National Park (NP).

According to Andy Nguyen, this type of tour is picky, usually for nature enthusiasts and scientific research experts at home and abroad. A maximum tour has 6 guests because too many people can affect animals and make them hide without being able to observe in time. The best way to approach wildlife in Cat Tien is to use binoculars, day trips by bicycle, or pickup. Tickets to the garden are 60,000 VND/person.

Stretching over 3 provinces of Dong Nai, Lam Dong, and Binh Phuoc with more than 80,000 hectares surrounded by 90 km of Dong Nai River, Cat Tien National Park is about 150 km from Ho Chi Minh City. This is one of the national parks with abundant natural resources and biodiversity and is an ideal destination for ecotourism, experience in observing and photographing wildlife in Vietnam.

In the picture is the Bau Sau area, located in the core area of ​​Cat Tien, with the largest wetland area of ​​the garden, expanding to thousands of hectares in the rainy season and shrinking to about 200 hectares in the dry season.

The road from the administrative center of Cat Tien National Park to Bau Sau is about 14 km long. In which, there is a 5 km walk through the forest to observe precious wood species such as the hundred-year-old giant conifer, eucalyptus, red oak or typical vines in the forest such as bam, creeper’s claw.

In particular, Bau Sau is home to a rare species of freshwater crocodile (or Siamese crocodile, whose scientific name is Crocodylus siamensis ). Visitors can rent boats to see crocodiles. They often lie dormant with their heads and eyes on the water surface, note when observing must follow the instructions of rangers and guides.

After the summer rains, butterflies appear a lot in Cat Tien, they flutter on the trail and through the trees. The colorful butterfly wings reflected in the puddle create an attractive picture.

Cat Tien National Park has a diverse and rich fauna with 1,529 species, including 109 reptile species, including the southern cobra, taken in a corner of Cat Tien forest. Pictured is an Indochinese spitting cobra ( naja siamensis ).

“The profession of wildlife tour guide has few followers, in addition to passion, it is necessary to understand the biodiversity as well as the behavior of each species. For example, distinguishing birds by their songs, can help visitors observe animals and snakes that always seek to hide in the jungle, “said Andy Nguyen.

In addition, the guide must always remind guests to put their waste in the right place so that the forest is always green and clean, do not carve, graffiti on the trees and keep it quiet so as not to affect wildlife.

With 351 species, accounting for about 42% of the total number of bird species in Vietnam, including many rare species, Cat Tien is like a “miniature country” of Vietnamese forest birds.

The picture shows the lesser yellow nape , a common bird in Cat Tien National Park. The bird has a prominent yellow crest from the top of the head to the neck, the upper body is blue with red primary wing feathers, the lower body has many white stripes, the male has red feathers on the top of the head.

Zebra stripes or kingfisher Kingfisher ( banded kingfisher ) with an average length of 22 cm. The highlight of this species is the “fashion outfit” with blue-black striped stripes, a relatively common settler from the Central to the South, often found in Cat Tien.

Orange -breasted trogon is one of the beautiful, colorful birds with an average size of about 28 cm.

During bird photography, Andy Nguyen was impressed with the red cash chicken ( germain’s speacock pheasant ). He said this bird has a charming and beautiful beauty as if it was carrying sparkling green pearls. They are shy, bushy birds, endemic and threatened with extinction. Photographing this bird is not a small challenge, many people spend a few years shooting without success, having to stay in one place and get bitten a lot because there are many squeegees here in the rainy season.

“Three years ago, I photographed the red cash chicken for the first time. At that time near Tet, I stayed in the forest and had time to learn the rules of the chicken’s life. The first three days, the chickens just roamed around without moving to a place with enough “nice” space. But until the 4th day, the chickens came to the right position, willing to eat small corn kernels as food to lure. I remember that moment forever, I took pictures continuously, it was an indescribable joy,” said Andy Nguyen.

The bar-bellied pitta is one of the most sought-after birds in Cat Tien National Park.

In order to take pictures of the striped belly, Andy had to create a site (location) so that the birds could come and feed, and it took months of patience to give the bird a familiar reflex. And set up a camouflage tent about 10-15 m away from where the bird comes to feed so that guests can get into the tent and sit quietly watching the birds come, avoiding making noise. When the bird slowly appeared in admiration, holding the breath of visitors, he focused on taking lots of pictures.

Cat Tien National Park records the diversity of 113 mammal species. Particularly, primates, including red-faced monkeys, pig-tailed monkeys, black-shanked douc langur, yellow-cheeked gibbon and lorises, all belong to group 1B – endangered, rare and endangered animals. are listed in the World Red Book and are strictly protected.

Yellow-cheeked gibbon (pictured) lives in the canopy of 30 m tall trees, males are black, with yellow cheeks on both sides, while females are all yellow, with black hairs on the top of the head. They live in families of 3 to 5 individuals including parents and children. This species is very territorial conservatism, if the habitat of the herd is reduced or divided, they will continue to stay there instead of going elsewhere.

The little loris ( pygmy loris ) is also included in the Red Book of Vietnam and the world, with prominent features of gentleness and big round eyes. Small loris are usually nocturnal, in areas where bamboo or bamboo forests are interspersed with wood.

The tour to visit and watch wildlife organized by Andy Nguyen is usually a package, the price for a guest is about 2-3 million VND/day, including accommodation, tickets and transportation in the National Park. . If you only hire a guide service, the remaining cost is to be paid by guests, the rental price is 800,000 – 1.2 million VND/day. Follow vnexpress./

Photo: Andy Nguyen

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