again to U Minh Thuong National Park, the southern province of Kien Giang, after
months of closure to prevent the COVID-19 spread and wildfire.
Thanks to the park’s untouched nature and healthy fresh air,
it has been welcoming an increasing number of visitors, said Tran Van Thang,
Deputy Director of U Minh Thuong National Park. But the national park had to close last May due to COVID-19 restrictions, he said, adding that it had
also been placed into two-month routine closure as part of the efforts to
prevent forest fire during the dry season.
In 2021, the park welcomed over 26,000 visitors, equivalent
to just 38 percent of the yearly plan. It was allowed to reopen on January 20,
2022 and since then the destination has served more than 11,000 visitors, Thang
Many took sightseeing tours around the park to enjoy the
unique wetland ecosystem while others came here for fishing. Nguyen Van Dong, a
visitor from the neighbouring province of Ca Mau, and his friends usually
come here at around 4 in the morning so they can have plenty of time to travel
deep inside the park to go fishing.
Thang said the national park has been accelerating
infrastructure development and creating new tourism products to attract more
travellers. It has also been strengthening protection of natural landscapes and
waste treatment in the park, he added.
Located about 65km to the southwest of Rach Gia city, U Minh
Thuong National Park, one of the two most important peatland areas in Vietnam,
boasts unique and rare features that are hard to be found anywhere else in the
country and the world.
Founded in 2002, the park is surrounded by a 60km-long embankment
system and covers some 21,100 ha of land in U Minh Thuong district, including
about 8,000 ha of the core zone and 13,000 ha of the buffer zone.
U Minh Thuong National Park is at the core of the Kien
Giang Biosphere Reserve, the fifth in Vietnam earning UNESCO’s recognition.
Among the forest ecosystems on acid sulfate soil in the Mekong Delta, only this
park owns characteristics of a purely primeval forest.
A survey in 1995 showed that U Minh Thuong boasts 8,053ha of
primeval forest, about 3,000ha of which dates back some 6,000 years ago.
The cajuput forest ecosystem on peatland here holds special
importance as it nurtures hundreds of species of wild animals, including birds, mammals,
reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects and many aquatic species.
Thirty-two mammal species have been found in this park,
including 10 species listed in Vietnam’s Red Data Book and the International
Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List like hairy-nosed otter,
fishing cat, Asian palm civet, Finlayson’s squirrel and Sunda pangolin.
It also provides habitat for 188 bird species, including
eight threatened globally such as spot-billed pelican, greater adjutant,
black-headed Ibis, sociable weaver, grey-headed fish eagle and black eagle; 54
reptile and amphibian species, including eight in Vietnam’s Red Data Book like
reticulated python, banded krait and king cobra; along with 34 fish species./.