Forest Fire In Vietnam Threatens Endangered Red-Crowned Crane Habitat
Forest fires in Vietnam?? With the rain and humidity there, who would have thought such a think would be possible!
Area: Vietnam, Dong Thap Province, Tram Chim National Park, Mekong Delta,
Forest fires in a national park are threatening the habitat of the endangered red-crowned crane, Vietnamese officials said Wednesday. The fires have destroyed 200 hectares of Tram Chim National Park in the Mekong Delta, the latest in a record-setting year of forest fires caused by low rain and hot weather. The official Vietnam News reported Wednesday that over 500 firefighters, soldiers and police were fighting the blazes using water pumps drawing from nearby canals, but had failed to control them. "Forest fires are much worse this year than last year," said Nguyen Huy Loi, head of the Forest Management Department in the central province of Ha Tinh. Loi said fires in the northern mountain district of Sapa and in southern Bu Gia Map National Park had already consumed thousands of hectares of forest. The fires near Sapa alone destroyed 1,700 hectares of forest before being extinguished in mid-February. In the first two months of 2010, the Forest Protection Department said forest fires were running at over 10 times the rate for 2008 and 2009, when just 140 hectares were destroyed. Loi blamed "climate change," resulting in lower rainfall and humidity. The red-crowned crane is among the most endangered birds in the world, with some 1,500 believed to remain in the wild, mainly in China. The population in the Mekong Delta is believed to be about 200, according to a report by the local biosphere preserve.
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