Cat Tien National Park is located in Dong Nai, Lam Dong, and Binh Phuoc Provinces, in the southeast of Vietnam. The Park is around 150km from Saigon, making it an ideal venue for trekking and starting eco-tourism. The Vietnam Local Tour Operator – Indochina Charm Travel offers lots of green tours of 2 days and more to this Site which include fantastic activities of bird watching, trekking, nocturnal wildlife safari program, sightseeing the botanical garden and heavenly waterfall, and more.
Scientific Information about Cat Tien National Park
- The “Nam Cat Tien” southern sector of the Park is located in Dac Lua Commune, Tan Phu District of Dong Nai Province. The “Tay Cat Tien” western sector belongs to Dang Ha Commune, Bu Dang District of Binh Phuoc Province. And, the “Cat Loc” sector is situated in the communes of Tien Hoang, Gia Vien, and Phuoc Cat II of the Cat Tien District, and Loc Bac Commune, Bao Lam District of Lam Dong Province. Its map coordinate is 11°21′ – 11°48′ N, 107°10′ – 107°34′ E
- The Park has an area of 70.548 hectares. The area includes three sectors: (1) the 39.109-ha Nam Cat Tien of Dong Nai Province; (2) the 4.469-ha Tay Cat Tien of Binh Phuoc Province; (3) the 26.970-ha Cat Loc of Lam Dong Province (Nam Cat Tien National Park, 2003b).
- The topography of Nam Cat Tien is diverse. The “Cat Loc” is located in the extension to the west of Central Highlands and has the mountainous terrain with the height of 659m and the very steep hills. The south and the west of the Site are set in the bottom of the Central Highlands, featured with low hills and the highest point of 372m. Regarding the hydrography, the region is supported by Dong Nai River, the second largest river in the south of Vietnam. Many lakes and streams within the Park flow into this river.
- The first decision of the Prime Minister that addressed Cat Tien was the Decision No. 360/TTg dated 07 July 1978 regarding the establishment of the protected forest of Nam Cat Tien, with an area of 35.000 hectares (MARD 1997). This resulted in the investment plan that proposed the Cat Tien National Park Vietnam including 38.900 hectares (FPD 1998). The plan was approved on 13 January 1992 according to Decision No. 08/CT of the Chairman of Council of Minister (Anon. 1993a). On the same day (13 January 1992), the management board was founded.
- After going through several times of area adjustments, in 1997, the Forest Inventory and Planning Institute, MARD, cooperated with WWF, prepared an investment plan to modify the area of the Park, which was 73.100 hectares (Anon. 1997). The plan was approved by the Prime Minister, in pursuant to Decision No. 1090/TTg, dated 5 December 1998.
- On 31 March 2003, MARD approved a project providing detailed borders of the Park and the resettlement of the residents according to Decision No. 893/QD-BNN-KL. Based on the project, the entire area of the Park was modified to 70.548 hectares, which was later officially confirmed by the Prime Minister’s Decision No. 173/2003/QD-TTg.
Biodiversity and Conservation Topics in Cat Tien National Park
Cat Tien National Park covers a variety of habitats namely the primitive evergreen forest, the low-terrace secondary forest of the dominant Dipterocarpaceae family, pristine mid-deciduous forest, bamboo forest, submerged freshwater wetland, and seasonal grassland. The typical types of plantation include Saccharum spontaneum, S. arundinaceum, Neyraudia arundinacea; Hydnocarpus anthelmintica, and Ficus benjamina (FIPI, 1993). The flora in Cat Tien recorded more than 1.300 vascular kinds of the plantation, of which 34 species were in Vietnam’s Red Book (Anon. 1996), and many high-value timbers such as Afzelia xylocarpa, Dialium cochinchinensis, Dalbergia oliveri, Pterocarpus macrocarpus (Vu Van Dong, 2000).
The fauna in the Park included 76 species of mammals, 320 species of birds, 74 species of reptiles, 35 species of amphibians, 99 species of fish, and 435 species of butterflies. Among the officially recorded species of fauna, 16 species of mammals, 15 species of birds, and 8 species of reptiles were globally threatened (Polet & Ling in press). As an important sanctuary for the large animals, Cat Tien recorded the presence of Elephas maximus, Java Rhinoceros sondaicus, Sus scrofa, Cervus unicolor, Bos gaurus, of which the Asian elephants and Java rhinoceros had the higher density than in other regions of Vietnam. Also, the Site protected the primate such as Pygathrix nigripes, Macaca leonine, and Hylobates gabriellae (Ling et al. 2000). Furthermore, it was an important bird sanctuary that sheltered the globally endangered birds of Pseudibis davisoni, Cairina scutulata, and Leptoptilos javanicus (Polet & Pham Huu Khanh 1999a). Nam Cat Tien and Cat Loc covered the significant avifauna.
Within the area of the Park, there were 9.456 residents of the Kinh, Tay, Chau Ma, S’Tieng ethnic groups (Cat Tien National Park, 2000). And, in 2000, there counted 188.479 people living in the buffer zone; they belong to the ethnic groups of Chau Ma, S’Tieng, Tay, Nung, Dao, Hmong, and Kinh. To protect forest products from the locals, it needs educational programs to improve their environmental awareness and solutions to increase their income. Besides, the forest securities need sufficient equipment to observe and preserve the Park confidently.
Ecotourism in Cat Tien National Park Dong Nai
It’s easy and quick to visit Cat Tien National Park Dong Nai which is only 150km from Saigon. The Cat Tien Tours are open to all tourists who want to meet the wildlife and cherish the pristine forest scenery. The adventures offer the off-the-beaten-track trekking trails, bird watching, captivating nature for photography, and nocturnal wildlife safari programs that exhilarate all guests. You can stay overnight in the Park to view the animals at night, take great shots, and get unique experiences. For the marvelous sightseeing, the itinerary takes you to the Botanical Garden and Heavenly Waterfall that beautify each step of yours. In the evening, you will get on a truck to run around the trails and watch the “kingdom of the animals.”
For further excitement, start an on-foot discovery through the thick forest to the crocodile lake, which takes the 4-hour trekking. Bring the binoculars with you and behold how charming Nature is in Cat Tien National Park!
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