Vietnam resort’s resident zoologist wins Tourism Hero Award
Vietnam’s award-winning five-star InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, nestled in 39 hectares of nature on the Son Tra Peninsula, has announced that its resident Zoologist, Anthony Barker, has won the WTN Tourism Hero Award in recognition of his outstanding conservation efforts.
A government protected area that covers 3,000 square kilometers on Vietnam’s central coast, the Son Tra Peninsula is home to abundant flora and fauna, including species classified as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Most notably, it is the home of the red-shanked douc langur, one of the world’s rarest species of primate.
Barker advised “I am deeply honoured to receive the WTN Tourism Heroes Award. At InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, we have a responsibility to take care of our pristine nature reserve and its inhabitants, including the critically-endangered red-shanked douc langurs. So, I am delighted to lead projects to preserve the environment and engage with the community. All businesses should learn to mould themselves around their natural location, rather than trying to force nature to mould around them. Only when we achieve complete sustainability can we reach our full potential.”
Since joining the resort in early 2019, Barker has revolutionised its approach to environmental protection. He has collaborated with local authorities and NGOs on key projects and helped to educate communities and staff members about the importance of conservation. Barker also integrates his work into the guest experience by hosting of complimentary wildlife workshops and guided tours to raise awareness.
But it is Barker’s work with the red-shanked douc langurs that makes him a true hero. He oversees eight protected zones within the resort which are home to tropical almond trees – the leaves of which are the species’ favourite food – and has created a network of natural bridges and rope ladders to allow the animals to move freely around the resort and access feeding grounds.
Poaching and trafficking are still the one of the biggest threats to wildlife in Vietnam, so Barker has created a stricter security zone within the national park. The arrival and departure of all personnel is fully documented and he personally conducts regular perimeter walks to ensure that no paths have been made or traps laid by poachers. As a result of these measures, the community of red-shanked douc langurs within the resort is well-protected.
The resort is now planning to launch its new Discovery Centre, a dedicated onsite conservation hub that will allow guests, staff and community groups – including local schoolchildren – to learn more about the area’s wildlife and the resort’s latest environmental projects. This facility is set to open in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Barker’s work underpins InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort’s deep commitment to conservation and sustainability. As part of IHG’s Green Engage program, the property monitors its daily usage of energy, carbon, water and waste and takes steps to actively reduce its consumption.
For more information and to get back to nature in Vietnam with InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, please contact 0236 393 8888 or visit www.danang.intercontinental.com.
Image top: Anthony Barker is the Resident Zoologist at InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort; image above: Barker has created a network of natural bridges and rope ladders to allow the red-shanked douc langurs to move freely around the resort and access feeding grounds
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