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Laotian Rock Rat (Laonastes aenigmamus)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 13257936

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 13257936) - Laotian Rock Rat - Awarded $12,500 on January 22, 2014

Laotian rock rat (Laonastes aenigmamus) was first described in 2005 and representing as the only living representative of an ancient fossil family Diatomyidae, that was thought to have been extinct for 11 million years, since the late Miocene. The species is found in small region of Great Annamite Range both in Laos and Vietnam . In Laos, this species is found in few localities of Khammouan Province, while in Vietnam, the species is found only in northern part of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park.

Laotian rock rat is listed in IUCN Red List at "Endangered" (EN). Key threats to the species are hunting/snaring practice of local communities and habitat loss/ degradation. Trapping/snaring is widespread aslong tradition of ethnic groups living in and around Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park. Therefore, increase of conservation awareness of local communities and stopping hunting/snaring are the most important for the species conservation.

This Project aims to enhance long-term survival of Laotian Rock Rat population in Phong Nha - Ke Bang NP through provide updated data on the population ecology, increasing conservation awareness of local communities, reducing their trapping/snaring practice and capacity building for staff members of the Phong Nha - Ke Bang Nation Park

Project specific objectives include

1. Determining distribution range and habitat preference of Laotian Rock Rat in Phong Nha - Ke Bang NP (Minh Hoa District, Quang Binh Province, Central Vietnam)
2. Assessing habitat disturbance and hunting/snaring activities of local villagers to Laotian Rock Rat population
3. Raising awareness amongst local villagers on Laotian Rock Rat conservation aand campain for trap/snares removal from the Laotian Rock Rat distribution area
6. Developing the species conservation action and dissemination of Project results to Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park and stakeholders for follow-up actions.


1. Conducting participatory village surveys and field transect surveys for gathering information about the species distribution area, the species habitat preference, habitat quality and key threats to the population.
2. Assessing pressure to the Laotian Rock Rat population based on encounter rate of hunters and snares in forest, level of animal takeoff by villagers, human disturbance to habitat and level of habitat degradation
3. Producing A3-sized poster (30 x 42 cm) with Laotian Rock Rat conservation message to distribute to the villages during village meetings.
4. Organizing village meetings to give talks on Laotian Rock Rat conservation, then negotiating with them to commitment of not trapping/snaring in the species area
5. Conducting campaign of trap/snare removal in Laotian Rock Rat distribution area by Phong Nha - Ke Bang guards/ range and Village conservation teams
6. Supporting Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Part to develop the species conservation action plan and to organize a workshop with stakeholders to disseminate the study results and agreement on the action plan and follow-up actions
7. On-job training staffs of Phong Nha - Ke Bang NP and villagers on techniques of mammal survey and communal conservation education

Project 13257936 location - Vietnam, Asia