Of the 25 primate species found in Vietnam, 7 are critically endangered and 9 are endangered. Many of these rare primates are kept only at the EPRC.
The Endangered Primate Rescue Center is a not for profit project dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, breeding, research and conservation of Vietnams endangered and critically endangered primate species. First established in 1993, through a collaboration between Frankfurt Zoological Society and Cuc Phuong National Park, the center is presently managed under the umbrella of the Vietnam Primate Conservation Program, jointly operated by Zoo Leipzig and Cuc Phuong National Park. More than 180 animals have been born at the center, some being the first of their species to be born in captivity, including the critically endangered Cat Ba langur, Delacours langur and the Grey shanked douc langur.
Today the center is home to around 180 primates representing 15 species. The primates are housed in more than 50 large enclosures including two fenced semi wild areas of primary forest, measuring 2 and 5 hectares in size. These enclosures serve to prepare animals for release into the wild and provide opportunities to study the behavior of animals in semi wild conditions.
The EPRC currently employs 31 staff both from the local community and abroad.
TILO NADLER, Founder
Tilo has been active in primate conservation in Vietnam for over 20 years. Originating from Dresden, Germany, Tilo came to Vietnam as project manager for the Frankfurt Zoological Society in 1993. In the same year he founded the Endangered Primate Rescue Center in response to the need for rehabilitation of confiscated primates and was the Director of the EPRC for 22 years.
Currently Tilo focuses on improving forest protection in Van Long Nature Reserve and release projects for animals rehabilitated at the EPRC.
SONYA PROSSER, Director
Originally from New Zealand, Sonya worked for twenty years as a zoo keeper at the Melbourne Zoo Australia. In 2012 she left the zoo to work and travel, spending most of her time in Indonesia and Vietnam before taking on the position as the representative of Zoo Leipzig in Vietnam and Director of the EPRC in January 2015.
ELKE SCHWIERZ, Foreign Head Keeper
Elke first came to the EPRC in 2002 and stayed for 5 years with support from the Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations (ZGAP). In 2007 she began working for Zoo Leipzig and was able to work as head keeper at the EPRC at regular intervals as part of the zoos’ keeper training program. As a professionally trained zookeeper Elke has been able to pass on valuable knowledge and skills to the EPRCs local staff. Fluent in Vietnamese and currently learning the Muong language, Elke works directly along side the head keepers to oversee all day to day ground operations, and training of staff.
NGUYEN THI THU HIEN, Vietnam Primate Conservation Program, Project Coordinator
Hien started her work for the project in 1995. Based in Hanoi she assisted to overcome numerous bureaucratic hurdles to run this first conservation project in Vietnam. In 1997 she moved to Cuc Phuong took over the management of the animal keepers, was directly involved in the care of the animals and coordinated project activities for many years until the EPRC had a stable position for a trained foreign animal keeper.
Her current work shifts to conservation activities outside of the center with the focus on reintroduction and protection of Van Long Nature Reserve.
HUE NGUYEN, Head Keeper
Hue began working at the EPRC in 2002. Over this time she has worked in all aspects of center operations, including animal care, technical, staff management and financial management. Hue is responsible for the day to day management of staff and animals, reporting EPRC activities to the national park management, and purchasing of animal food and equipment.
VINH DINH, Technical Head Keeper
Vinh started at the EPRC in 1996, and is the longest serving staff member. Vinh has seen the EPRC grow from only a few animals to what it is today. He has visited Australia for a work placement on the primate department at Melbourne Zoo. In his role as Head Keeper, Vinhs primary responsibility is to ensure our infrastructure is maintained, build new enclosures and manage technical staff. Vinh is also our main staff for rescue of confiscated primates.
HIEU NGUYEN, Project Assistant
Hieu began his work for the EPRC in December 2015. With a Communication degree done in Hanoi and Melbourne, he’s now assisting the manager with communication tasks, giving guided tours in English and Vietnamese to visitors and also able to join in with the keepers with animal care duties.
The EPRC employs more than 25 local keepers from the region, the majority of whom live in local villages of the Muong ethnic minority, thus the center is an important contributor to the livelihood in the area. Muong people speak a dialect different to the official Vietnamese and traditionally live in stilt house. Many of them work multiple additional jobs including farming, raising livestock and so on.