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Vietnam is intrinsically interesting...

It has a fascinating diversity of wildlife, of people, and of cultures. Here (on the right) is a Vietnamese water puppet that is one of the most spectacular dramatic events I've ever seen in my life. The Vietnamese artists are in the water, underneath the stage the whole time, for two hours and they're manipulating the puppets with bamboo rods underneath the water. It's a pretty amazing and spectacular event.


Much of the wildlife in Vietnam, which is what I know best, is unknown to Western scientists including some species that are only found in Vietnam. These are called endemic species when they're only found in one area in the world. In fact, in the 1990's, several new species of mammal and two new bird species were discovered in what's called the Truong Son range which is formerly known as the Annamites. These are not small, nocturnal, ground dwelling mammals. These are large animals. This animal is called the Saola and as you can see, it's as tall as our waists.

Of course, again, when you're thinking of what's in a name, this is new to science, but not to the Vietnamese who live in the region where the Saola lives. They have known about the existence of these species for a long time. Again, I mentioned this is new to western science and actually it's new to Vietnamese scientists, as well.


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