DONG THAP — The Tam Nong Bird Sanctuary in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap is allowing poor people in the neighbourhood to enter the park to earn a livelihood during the annual flooding season.
Nguyen Van Hung, the park director, said 177 poor families from five communes have been allowed in the park buffer zone from 6am to 6pm every day to fish and collect wood and vegetables, but are ordered to strictly observe the laws on protecting resources.
Their permits were aimed at minimising illegal entry into the park and possible destruction of natural resources, he explained.
Duong Van Thang, a local resident, earns a living by doing odd jobs. But in the flood season, he finds it hard to find any job.
“Thanks to the permit issued by the bird sanctuary, we can enter it to catch snails and collect vegetables, earning around VND100,000 a day, enough to support my family,” Hung said.
Tam Nong Bird Sanctuary, situated in what used to be called Dong Thap Muoi (Plain of Reeds), is home to 250 species of water birds, over 100 freshwater fish, and 32 rare birds.
The national park, which also has nearly 3,000ha of cajaput and more than 1,000ha of wild rice and weeds, is a natural habitat for many birds and animals.
With its unique fauna and flora, the sanctuary became Viet Nam’s fourth Ramsar site and the 2,000th world-wide.