Looking for the Top 10 Wildlife in Vietnam?
Vietnam is among the most naturally diverse countries in Asia. The country’s coastlines, caves, mountain ranges, swamps, rivers, and tropical forests provide a habitat for some of the most exotic and beautiful animals. Unfortunately, habitat loss and poaching are serious challenges facing the country’s nature.
So why should you travel to Vietnam? It is not only a safe tourist destination but also brandishes magnificent scenery with a deep, rich culture.
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|Wildlife Species||Key Points|
|Asian Elephants||– Largest land mammal in Asia|
– Inhabit various habitats in 13 range countries
– Few wild elephants left in Vietnam
|Asiatic Black Bears||– Also known as sun/moon bears|
– Rescued and rehabilitated at Tam Dao Bear Sanctuary in Vietnam
|Indochinese Tigers||– Endangered species found in Greater Mekong region|
– Low population due to poaching and habitat loss
|Indochinese Leopards||– Rare outside protected areas, threatened by habitat loss and poaching|
|Monkeys||– Various leaf-eating monkey species in Vietnam, including gibbons and langurs|
|Pygmy Slow Loris||– Nocturnal primates found in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and China|
– Venomous and reside in various forests
|Pangolins||– Sunda and Chinese pangolin species in Vietnam|
– Critically endangered due to poaching and trade
|Crocodiles||– Siamese and saltwater crocodiles in Vietnam|
– Siamese crocodiles endangered
|Spinner Dolphin||– Acrobatic dolphins known for leaping and spinning in the air|
|Asian Water Monitor||– Giant lizard native to South and Southeast Asia|
– Common near water bodies
Vietnam is home to many temples, shrines, pagodas, and religious sites. These enchanting structures range from Hindu shrines to Buddhist monasteries.
There are 30 national parks across Vietnam dotted from north to south, coast to the border region. Much time and money has been invested into regenerating forests and safeguarding biodiversity, especially after the post-war devastation of the 1960s and 70s.
#1 Asian Elephants
The Asian elephant is the largest land mammal on the Asian continent. They inhabit dry to wet forest and grassland habitats in 13 range countries spanning South and Southeast Asia. Asian elephants are found in isolated pockets of India and Southeast Asia, including Sumatra and Borneo.
Where to see wildlife in Vietnam: Elephants
While there were once thousands of wild elephants in Vietnam, experts from Animals Asia say only 114 left in the country. Despite the small wild elephant population, the human-elephant conflict is a severe and ongoing problem in Vietnam. There are five groups of wild elephants, with the largest population in Yok Don National Park (in Dak Lak Province), an area of 100,000 hectares.
Elephant capture and training have been debated in the tourism industry,. Still, Yok Don National Park offers a genuinely ethical experience to encounter elephants in their natural habitat within a respectful range.
#2 Asiatic Black Bears ( Sun/ Moon Bears)
Found from southern China to eastern India and as far south as Indonesia, sun bears, also called Malayan sun bears, take their name from the marking on their chest. The Sun Bear is the smallest, least well-known, and one of the rarest of all the bear species. Read more about this rare creature with one of our dedicated articles to discover the Asiatic black bear.
Near Hanoi, the Tam Dao Bear Sanctuary rescues and rehabilitates moon bears, also known as the Asiatic Black Bear. Animals Asia’s primary mission is to save these bears from bile farms and provide them with a safe environment.
This is a great organization to support while viewing these bears in an ethical environment.
#3 Indochinese Tigers
The indochinese tiger is only found in the Greater Mekong region of Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The Indochinese tiger is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. It’s believed there are around 350 Indochinese tigers left in the world, and this low population is due to poaching and habitat loss.
Where to see wildlife in Vietnam: Indochinese Tiger
Pu Mat National Park: Pù Mát National Park is a national park in Nghệ An Province, in Vietnam’s North Central Coast region. It is praised as the largest forest in north-central Vietnam and a flagship national wildlife deserve.
#4 Indochinese Leopards
n Indochina, leopards are rare outside protected areas and threatened by habitat loss due to deforestation and poaching for the illegal wildlife trade.
According to new research, only one population of Indochinese leopards remains in all of eastern Indochina, and that population is facing a steep decline. The leopard once appeared throughout all of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, and it is very rare and special to witness an Indochinese Leopard.
In Vietnam, 12 species of leaf-eating monkeys have been recognized, spreading from the North to the South. They are in three genera, Pygathrix, the Douc Langurs, Rhinopithecus, the Snub-Nosed Monkeys, and Trachypithecus, or Crested Langurs.
Most commonly seen:
Singing Gibbons: Gibbons belong to a group of animals called primates. They are small apes that live in South East Asia.
Where to see Wildlife in Vietnam: Monkeys
- Yok Don National Park.
- Cuc Phung National Park.
- Monkey Island In Nha Trang.
- Cat Tien National Park.
- Phong Nha National Park.
#6 Pygmy Slow Loris
The pygmy slow loris is a species of slow loris, a nocturnal primate found east of the Mekong River in Vietnam, Laos, eastern Cambodia, and China.
The slow loris is one of the few mammals on earth and the only venomous primate. They have been known to occur in a variety of forest habitats, including tropical dry forests, semi-evergreen, and evergreen forests.
These animals reside in rainforests, degraded habitats, bamboo thickets in Vietnam, and evergreen forests in Laos. They have been observed at altitudes as great as 1500 m.
The Sunda pangolin, also known as the Malayan or Javan pangolin, is a pangolin species. Evidently, it is found throughout Southeast Asia, including Vietnam. Vietnam is home to two species of pangolin, the Sunda and Chinese pangolin.
The Sunda pangolin inhabits the South of Viet Nam during the Chinese pangolin in the North.
Thirdly, they make their homes in primary and secondary forests, using gardens, oil palm, and rubber plantations. Sunda pangolins are critically endangered. However, like their fellow pangolin species elsewhere in Asia and Africa, they are being poached to extinction for their meat and scales, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine. However, there’s no evidence they are effective.
There is much more to say about these adorable creatures, so feel free to read our complete guide on pangolins!
Where to see Wildlife in Vietnam: Pangolins
Both species are generally found in forested areas and are secretive making it difficult to study population trends. Lastly, the most significant threat to Pangolin survival is the illegal hunting and trade of pangolin and its products.
Firstly, two species of crocodile can be found throughout Vietnam: the Siamese crocodile and the saltwater crocodile.
Crocodile Lake is home to 200 crocs and is one of Cat Tien National Park’s highlights. Getting here involves a 9km drive or bicycle ride from the park headquarters and then a 5km hike to the swamp; the walk takes about three hours to return.
Where to see Crocodiles: Wildlife in Vietnam
Nam Cat Tien National Park is located in Tan Phu, Dong Nai, which belongs to Cat Tien National Park. Furthermore, Nam Cat Tien National Park currently covers an area of 38,100 hectares of spectacular forest.
Bau Sau is the second largest wetlands in Vietnam, home of wild aggressive crocodiles. A popular activity is trek to Crocodile Lake (Bau Sau) which gets not only crocodiles but also a great variety of bird and mammals. The Siamese crocodile is a typical animal. These crocodiles are endangered. Rarely, visitors can see them in the wild. We can observe their hunting. It’s so interesting and attractive.
#9 Spinner Dolphin
The species name, longirostris, is Latin for “long beak,” referring to their slender-shaped beak. Regarded as one of the most acrobatic of dolphins, spinner dolphins are well known for leaping from the water and spinning up to seven times in the air before falling back into the water.
Spinner dolphins live in warm ocean waters around the world. There are different populations, including one near Thailand, along the Pacific Ocean coast of Central America, and around the Hawaiian Islands. Capable of surviving in brackish fresh and salt water, the Spinner Dolphin is a scarce sight in Vietnam.
It is believed that the spinner dolphin is one of the most common dolphin species, along with the bottlenose, though its numbers have halved in seven years.
Where to see wildlife in Vietnam: Spinner Dolphins
Dolphins have appeared in groups in the waters off Hoi An Town in the central province of Quang Nam and Phu Quoc, Vietnam’s most significant island in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang.
#10 Asian Water Monitor
Firstly, the Asian water monitor is a giant varanid lizard native to South and Southeast Asia. Evidently, it is one of the most common monitor lizards in Asia, ranging from coastal northeast India, Sri Lanka, and mainland Southeast.
Asia to Indonesian islands is where it lives, close to water. Additionally, Asian Water Monitors are pretty intelligent, can become very friendly, and even seek human affection.
Where to see Asian water Monitors in Vietnam:
They live close to bodies of water and are often seen swimming, using their solid tail for move forward.
Save Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW)
is a national Non-Profit Organisation in Vietnam that was founded on the critical need for more effective solutions to secure a future for Vietnamese wildlife.
Their mission is to
- Tackling the illegal wildlife trade in Asia, with a current focus on endangered primate rescue and reintroduction in southern Vietnam.
- Engaging communities through conservation education and awareness.
- We are encouraging responsible tourism and respecting wildlife and wild places.
Summary of Top 10 Wildlife in Vietnam
Vietnam is a cultural hub of rich history and extensive natural resources, home to countless wildlife and opportunities to encounter and witness wildlife in the wild. Let us know if you have seen or hope to see any nature of Vietnam!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Vietnam is home to a diverse range of wild animals, including Asian elephants, Asiatic black bears, Indochinese tigers, Indochinese leopards, various monkey species, pygmy slow lorises, pangolins, crocodiles, spinner dolphins, Asian water monitors, and many more.
The largest wild animal in Vietnam is the Asian elephant, which inhabits various habitats across the country.
Yes, Vietnam is part of the Greater Mekong region where Indochinese tigers can be found. However, the population of these tigers is endangered due to poaching and habitat loss.
The top predator in Vietnam’s ecosystems includes the Indochinese tiger and the Indochinese leopard. These apex predators play a crucial role in regulating the populations of prey species and maintaining the health of ecosystems.
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