There is a mystique to Van Long Nature Reserve and an old legend of the cliffs in this region. While passing the highest mountain, a fairy saw the charming landscape and stopped to behold it. She met and fell in love with a poor man who lived on the mountain. Due to their love they were punished by the gods and turned into two mountains, called Nghien and Fairy Mountains. These mountains sit side by side but they have never become husband and wife.
Other cliffs have curious names from Scratching Cat (Meo Cao) to Tray of Sticky Rice (Mam Xoi) but we have come to see the cliffs and caves that 120 of the worlds remaining 200 Delacour’s Langurs (remember the monkey who wore shorts?) survive. There are more than two dozen caves cut into these cliffs, some at waters edge, others high up on the mountains.
Surrounded by water and accessible by flat bottom boats, during the rainy season the region is well known for its migratory birds including storks, herons and numerous species of waterfowl. It is also home to over 400 species of plants, loris, langurs, and small deer as well as King Cobra, water monitors, pheasants and others. This large wetland reserve covers 3000 hectares and is an east drive from Cuc Phuong.
It is our last day here and we spend almost two hours floating through the reserve, surrounded by cliffs at every turn, with mist shrouded valleys in the distance. We know the langurs come down between 4pm and 5pm through the trees into their high mountain caves for the night. But as we scan the grey and white limestone cliffs for the black and white monkey who wears shorts, we do not see them on this day.
After being surrounded by Loris, Gibbons, and the Douc, Hatinh, Francois, Lao, Grey, Cat Ba and Delacour Langurs all week at the a Endangered a Primate Rescue Center, it reminds us how small this population of langurs really is and we hope the photos taken this week do not serve as a reminder in the future of species gone extinct, primates we have a chance of saving no matter how little their numbers are today.