Our Australian coordinators, Mark and Jill, recently traveled to Vietnam.
Mark was asked to please tell us more about their journey to Vietnam and the wildlife and nature they experienced on their journey. For this article, Mark will tell us specifically about the Con Dao Island chain off the southern coast of Vietnam.
The Con Dao Archipelago is a group of 17 islands, 185 kilometers (115 miles) southeast of Vung Tau on the southern coast of Vietnam. The total area is about 75 square kilometers (28,95 miles) and is 95% forested with inaccessible lowlands and coastal tropical rainforests.
Con Son is the main Island, with a population of about 5,000 people. The main settlement of Con Son is a quiet, former fishing village first visited by European traders (the English East India Company) around 1702. From about 1861, the French established a colonial administration on Con Son and later a penal colony for housing independence and resistance fighters prior to the American War.
Now, most of the islands have been designated a National Park and the main island has large offshore marine protected areas, set aside for the conservation of endangered Dugongs, turtles, and dolphins.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has been working closely with the People Committee on Con Son to establish sustainable eco-tourism ventures on the island including diving, snorkeling, and nature walking. There are a number of large civil works programs in the small Con Son urban area to improve drainage, nutrient runoff, and sewerage systems before they enter the sensitive marine area where protected species live. The large lakes and a new sewerage treatment plant are under construction.
The Con Son Local Authorities have paid great attention to the low-lying swamp areas around the Con Son urban areas with the construction of public water infrastructure work to retain runoff and sedimentation before it reaches the offshore seagrass beds and reefs.
They are making great progress in trying not to repeat the same development mistakes in other parts of Vietnam and other Asian countries. Con Dao is a shining model for others to follow so we commend them for their great work!
Thank you very much for taking us on this journey with you, Mark and Jill! As always, we appreciate learning from you. Thank you for the nice photos.
If you have a question for Mark, send him an email, or drop your question in the comment section below.
Below, more photos of Con Dao Island: