Tang Ba Hoanh, former Director of the Hai Duong Museum, said one day: “There are some mountains in Kinh Mon district in Hai Duong province, where a lot of golden monkeys lived. I once tried to protect the mountains and the population of monkeys, but I tasted the defeat. I think that the golden monkeys have all died.”
VTC’s reporter, after hearing the news, decided to travel to the mountains in Hai Duong to discover the monkeys, though he did not believe that monkeys can be found nearby.
The road to the Tu Lac village of Minh Tan town of Kinh Mon district was dirty and dusty with the dust from exploitation sites and from the trucks carrying stones.
A local woman, when asked about golden monkeys, affirmed that there were once a lot of monkeys, golden monkeys and red cheek monkeys. “My husband once caught a monkey and brought it home for feeding. However, the mountains have been destroyed, and I am not sure if the monkeys still can live there,” she said.
Nguyen Van Nguyen, former Secretary of the Minh Tan Commune’s party committee, said that it was a beautiful land area 20 years ago.
“I have been to the Van Long wetland in Ninh Binh province, and I believe that Van Long is less beautiful than this area,” he affirmed.
“There were so many golden monkeys (with yellow hair) on the mountains, and we called this the “kingdom of monkeys”,” he said. “I am not sure how many troops of monkeys there were. But a troop comprised of 10-30 monkeys. They were very noisy.”
However, Nguyen breathed a sigh. Nowadays, mountains have been destroyed, because people need stones for their construction works. Nguyen said that Hoanh once argued with provincial leaders, vowing to protect the beautiful landscape, but Hoanh failed to fulfill his plan.
As the Hoang Thach Cement Factory was set up, people destroy the mountain to get materials for the cement plant. At that time, people did not care much about the monkeys.
However, the efforts of Hoang still could bring effects. The Ham Long Mountain, where there is a pagoda in the cave, has been preserved.
When asked about the monkeys, Nguyen said he feels sad. Kinh Mon is a peninsula, surrounded by rivers. Meanwhile, Tu Lac is the peninsula of the peninsula, embraced by Da Bac and Han rivers. Across the river are Quang Ninh and Hai Phong provinces. As such, Tu Lac is the wonderful land, where monkey’s singing can reach three provinces.
Nowadays, Tu Lac’s local residents sometimes still can hear monkeys singing, but very rarely. Meanwhile, no one can see monkeys any more. The monkeys fear the sounds of the mines, fear hunters, therefore, they have been trying to hide themselves.
Nguyen’s wife, when hearing the husband talking about the monkeys, also related that just ten years ago, she still could see monkeys on the mountain foot, saying that monkeys liked teasing women.
She said that Tu Lac’s women rarely went to the mountains alone. They always had to go in groups of several people. If monkeys saw a woman, they would rush to take over the hats, tear clothes and throw gravel into people.
Dao Van Manh, Head of the Tu Lac hamlet, also said he feels regret seeing a wonderful landscape disappearing for the exchange for economic benefits. The monkeys are losing their living environment, and no one knows for how many years they would still survive.