Cuc Phuong

Year of compilation: 2002

Site description
This IBA comprises Cuc Phuong National Park, the first protected area to be established in Vietnam. Cuc Phuong National Park lies at the south-eastern end of a limestone range that runs north-west to Son La province. The section of the limestone range encompassed by the national park is around 10 km wide and 25 km long, and has a central valley running along almost the entire length. The vegetation of the national park is dominated by limestone forest. Cuc Phoung National Park is considered to be one of seven globally significant Centres of Plant Diversity in Vietnam.

Key biodiversity
Cuc Phuong National Park is situated at the northern end of the Annamese Lowlands Endemic Bird Area (EBA). However, none of the restricted-range bird species restricted to this EBA have yet been recorded at the site.

Non-bird biodiversity: Cuc Phoung supports populations of several mammal species of conservation importance, including the globally critically endangered endemic primate Delacour's Leaf Monkey Semnopithecus francoisi delacouri and the globally vulnerable Owston's Banded Civet Hemilagus owstoni. In addition, the nationally threatened Leopard Panthera pardus has been recently recorded at the national park. However, several large mammal species, including Tiger Panthera tigris, Sambar Cervus unicolor and White-cheeked Crested Gibbon Nomascus leucogenys are believed to have become extinct at Cuc Phuong in recent times, mainly due to high hunting pressure and the relatively small size of the national park.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The most widely exploited forest products are timber and fuel wood. Hunting takes place at unsustainable levels and threatens to eradicate a number of mammal, bird and reptile species from the national park. The development of tourism infrastructure has had negative environmental impacts. For example, upgrading the road through the central valley of the national park has facilitated exploitation of forest products. A further threat to biodiversity at Cuc Phuong is the planned construction of National Highway 2, that would bisect the national park. The national park is a popular tourist destination, and receives an estimated 40,000 visitors per year.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
The Cuc Phuong Conservation Project (CPCP) was established in 1996 by Fauna and Flora International, with the objective of supporting the conservation of the natural resources of the national park. The focus of the CPCP is in five main areas: (1) socio-economic research to develop a better understanding of use of natural resources by local communities; (2) a conservation awareness programme to enhance both local people's and visitor's understanding of nature and of the need to protect the national park; (3) biological research to establish baseline information Cuc Phuong's biodiversity that enables effective monitoring; (4) institutional capacity building to develop strong professional skills among national park staff; and (5) species conservation programmes to conserve wildlife threatened by trade: the Owston's Banded Civet Breeding and Ecology Project and the Turtle Ecology and Conservation Programme.Frankfurt Zoological Society have established the Endangered Primate Rescue Centre (EPRC) at Cuc Phuong, in order to conduct captive breeding and veterinary research on Vietnamese gibbons, lorises and leaf monkeys. The EPRC receives animals confiscated from illegal wildlife traders by government authorities.The German Economic Development Programme (DED) is implementing a series of micro-interventions in the buffer zone of the national park, such as bee keeping, irrigation and other alternative income generating activities.The University of Illinois at Chicago and the National Centre for Science and Technology are conducting research into the medicinal properties of the flora of Cuc Phuong. This research has an ethno-botanical element.

Protected areas
Cuc Phoung National Park lies within Thach Thanh district, Thanh Hoa province, Nho Quan district, Ninh Binh province and Yen Thuy and Lac Son districts, Hoa Binh province. Cuc Phuong was decreed as a protected area in 1962. Based on this decision, in 1966 the status of Cuc Phuong Forest Enterprise was changed to Cuc Phuong National Park by the Directorate General of Forests, and a national park management board for Cuc Phuong was established. In 1986, national park status for Cuc Phuong was approved at the highest level, by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers. The investment plan was approved in 1988.

Habitat and land use
The vegetation of Cuc Phuong is dominated by limestone forest. The buffer zone of the national park is home to around 50,000 people, many of whom depend upon the natural resources of the national park.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cuc Phuong. Downloaded from on 13/08/2022.