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Cat Tien national park***

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Biodiversity values

Cat Tien National Park supports a variety of habitat types, including primary and secondary lowland evergreen forest dominated by species in the Dipterocarpaceae; primary and secondary lowland semi-evergreen forest, dominated by Lagerstroemia spp; freshwater wetlands with open lakes and seasonally inundated grasslands, containing Saccharum spontaneum, S. arundinaceum and Neyraudia arundinacea; flooded forest, dominated by Hydnocarpus anthelmintica mixed with Ficus benjamina; and a range of secondary habitat types, including grassland and areas dominated by bamboo.

To date, 76 mammal, 320 bird, 74 reptile, 35 amphibian, 99 fish and 435 butterfly species have been confirmed to occur at the national park; and there are unconfirmed records of an additional 32 mammal, 19 bird, nine reptile, four amphibian, 31 fish and four butterfly species. The species confirmed to occur include 16 mammals, 15 birds and eight reptiles that are globally threatened.

Cat Tien is one of the most important sites in Vietnam for the conservation of large mammals. Among the large mammal species that have been confirmed to occur at the national park are Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus), Lesser One-horned Rhinoceros, Eurasian Wild Pig (Sus scrofa), Sambar (Cervus unicolor) and Gaur (Bos gaurus), of which the later three species reportedly occur at high densities relative to other areas in Vietnam. Of the large mammal populations at Cat Tien National Park, the most globally significant one is that of Lesser One-horned Rhinoceros. This is the only known population of the species in mainland South-East Asia and the only known population of the sub-species R. s. annamiticus in the world. However, the population size and range of this species at the national park has declined over the last two decades, and current estimates put the population size at seven or eight individuals and the range at 6,500 ha.

Cat Tien National Park is also a nationally important site for primate conservation, supporting populations of several primates of conservation concern, including Black-shanked Douc (Pygathrix nigripes), Northern Pig-tailed Macaque (Macaca leonina) and Yellow-cheeked Crested Gibbon (Hylobates gabriellae).

Bird fauna - Birding - Checklist

Cat Tien National Park is situated in the South Vietnamese Lowlands Endemic Bird Area (EBA), and supports populations of all three bird species that characterised this EBA: Orange-necked Partridge (Arborophila davidi), Germain's Peacock Pheasant (Polyplectron germaini) and Grey-faced Tit Babbler (Macronous kelleyi).

Most highlights

Orange-necked Partridge, Germain's Peacock Pheasant, Siamese Fireback, Green Peafowl, Wreathed Hornbill, Lesser Adjutant, Woolly-necked Stork, Blue-rumped and Bar-bellied Pittas, Pale-headed and Black-and-buff Woodpeckers, Black-and-red, Banded, Dusky Broadbill, Blyth’s Frogmouth, Grey-faced Tit Babbler.

Birding routes

The Lagerstroemia and Ecological Trails, which begin near the park headquarters are good places to search for Germain’s Peacock Pheasant and pittas. The Dak Lua road may provide easier birding, especially early in the day when broadbills and Siamese Fireback can be seen. 

Haven rapid trail is one of good places for broadbills, woodpeckers, barbets.

Jeeps can be rented to the turn off to Bau Sau (Crocodile Lake) and Bau Chim (Bird Lake). Green Peafowl and waterbirds can be seen around these lakes, as well as Siamese Crocodile and, for the fortunate visitor, large mammals such as Gaur. The 5 km trail from the Dak Lua road to Bau Sau is also a good place for Germain’s Peacock Pheasant and pitas.

Transportation

Cat Tien is about 3.5 to 5 hours (depends on trafic) by car from Ho Chi Minh City (150 km) and 3.5 hours from Da Lat city.  The site is situated off National Highway 20 between Ho Chi Minh City and Da Lat. 

Accommodations

A range of standard accommodation is available at the park headquarters, and it is also possible to stay at Bau Sau, a ranger station in the heart of the park. 

Forest Floor Lodge is more fancy, it locates at Ben Cu rapid where people can enjoy the view however for most birders they don't need to stay here