The Delacor Langurs Saviors
by Chad Ovel, Partner, Mekong Capital
Photo credit: AFP/Nguyen Van Truong
LAt 6 AM this morning, I was riding on a bamboo paddle boat alongside my six year old daughter, Vienna. As the sun was rising in the east, the mist was lifting all around us revealing the beautiful karst limestone landscape of Van Long Nature Reserve. We were in search of a troop of Delacor Langurs, a very rare primate with less than 200 individuals remaining on Earth, all 200 of which live in this small corner of Vietnam on the border of Ha Nam and Ninh Binh Provinces.
What brought me here was the Annual Meeting of the donors to the Vietnam Primate Conservation Fund. The donors are a group of Vietnamese and foreign business leaders, including Mekong Capital’s Future Changer Fund, who have a unique and powerful commitment to exercising leadership to protect the very special biodiversity heritage of Vietnam. The declining populations of primates in Vietnam are the focus; 5 of the 25 most critically endangered primate species in the world are in Vietnam. All five of these species could go extinct by the time Vienna graduates from high school.
After being very lucky to spot and quietly watch a troop of Delacor Langurs jumping around the cliffs with their furry orange babies clinging on tightly, we all returned to a cozy conference room with hot tea and strong coffee. For the rest of the morning, we set our minds to the task of what actions each of us will take as individuals, and as our organisations, to change what is the predictable path towards extinction for the endangered primates of Vietnam. Each person who suggested an idea or offer an action, started with the words, “What I will do this year…” or “What support I can offer to provide is…” This was clearly a room of leaders, not complainers waiting for someone else to solve the challenge.
It was wonderful that my daughter Vienna, who sat next to me for the whole workshop, could witness these adults choosing the view that we absolutely can make a difference in the future of Vietnam. Just imagine what would be possible for the future of Vietnam’s forests and coral reefs if all of Vietnam’s citizens exercised what we at Mekong Capital call Genesis, which means “Choosing the view of life that you are the source of what you choose, what actions you take, what impact you have and how the world materializes around you. Being the cause rather than the effect.” It will make a difference in whether Vienna will be able to take her own children to see Delacor Langurs in Van Long Nature Reserve or Duoc Langurs in the future Kon Plong National Park 20 years from now…