Visiting Tram Chim National Park

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Located in Dong Thap province, Tram Chim National Park is a popular attraction for tourists. Coming here, you have the chance to see many rare brids which cannot be seen in any where else.

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Topography & Hydrology

Tram Chim National Park is located 19 km to the east of the Mekong River, at an elevation of about 1m. The topography of the national park is flat, slopes slightly to the East. In the past, several natural streams and rivers flowed from west to east, distributing water from the Mekong River to the plain of reeds. Now, these streams and rivers have been replaced by a system of canals flowing through the national park.

Prior to canalization, the plain of reeds was seasonally flooded with standing water for continuous periods of up to seven months per year. Since canalization, flood waters drain more rapidly and the national park is flooded for less than six months per year. Water levels in the canals begin to rise in June, at the beginning of the rainy season. Between September and December, the national park is inundated to a depth of 2 to 4 m, with a peak in October.

Since the mid-1980s, 53 km of dykes fitted with sluices have been constructed around the national park, with the aim of impounding floodwater for longer as well as reducing the lowering of the water table during the dry season. The national park is fragmented by canals into five management zones; the water level of each can be managed separately.

Tram Chim National Park (via vietnamtravel.deals)

Biodiversity values

The vegetation of Tram Chim National Park comprises a mixture of seasonally inundated grassland, regenerating Melaleuca forest and open swamp. Melaleuca is distributed throughout the national park, both in plantations and in scattered patches in areas of grassland or open swamp. There are five widespread grassland communities at Tram Chim, of which the community dominated by Eleocharis dulcis and wild rice Oryza rufipogon is of the highest conservation significance. Tram Chim is one of the few places in the Plain of Reeds where community is likely to survive to any extent, and, therefore, one of the most important sites for the conservation of wild rice in Vietnam. The other grassland communities are dominated by Eleocharis ochrostachys, Panicum repens, Ischaemum rugosum and Vossia cuspidata.

The Park is in the lowest area of the Mekong River water logged plain submerged and in the centre of Dong Thap Muoi. With a system of swamps, grass-plots and crossing canals, the 7,612 ha Tram Chim National Park has become an ideal habitat of more than 100 vertebrates, 40 species of fish, and 147 rare and precious species of birds, especially the red-head cranes. Hence, it is also an ideal place for scientists to research into the life of migratory birds. To date, at least 88 bird species have been recorded at Tram Chim National Park.

Tram Chim National Park (via pinterest)

The site is famous for the population of Sarus Cranes that inhabits the site in the dry season. In 1990s, hundreds of Cranes spent the dry season here. However, due to some inappropriate development in late 1990s and early 2000s, maximum counts of cranes fell dramatically to some 82 birds in the 2005 dry season. In addition to Sarus Crane, the globally endangered Bengal Florican Houbaropsis bengalensis has also been recorded at Tram Chim National Park. The status of this secretive grassland specialist at Tram Chim is not fully known but it is likely that birds vacate the area during periods of substantial inundation in the late wet season. Local people believe that the species breeds at the site, and claim to have found both eggs and young of the species but this has yet to be confirmed. A number of other globally threatened and near-threatened bird species regularly occur at Tram Chim, including Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster, Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus, Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala and Asian Golden Weaver Ploceus hypoxanthus.

Other wetland bird species of note recorded at Tram Chim include Cotton Pygmy Goose Nettapus coromandelianus, Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis and Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus. Because of its importance for globally threatened and bird species, Tram Chim qualifies as an Important Bird Area.

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