Despite a vast loss of habitat due to the saturation bombing, Napalm and chemical defoliants unleashed by America during the war, which caused catastrophic damage to the environment, the astonishing resilience of nature, together with re-forestation programmes, has ensured Vietnam remains blessed with an abundance of habitats, giving rise to an extraordinary variety of flora and Fauna, many of which are unique to the country, and it is not uncommon, even now, for new species to be discovered.

However, as elsewhere in the world, poaching and illegal trading in wildlife, particularly for traditional medicines, present a continuing and serious problem, despite new laws and the increasing involvement of the Government in awareness-raising initiatives. WWF reports have ranked Vietnam as among the worst for wildlife crime.

Inevitably, because of these and other pressures occurring as a result of human development, many of Vietnam's diverse plants and creatures are endangered, many even critically, and it is fortunate that the rise of eco-tourism, despite its own inherent risks, has helped to incentivise the creation of 20 National Parks and over a dozen Nature Reserves, aimed at striking a balance between income-generation and the preservation of the natural resources which provide it. For this reason, visitors enjoying Vietnam’s natural havens are themselves a key element in the drive towards conservation.

Exploring these parks and reserves, which are scattered all over Vietnam and cover a variety of habitats such as forests, wetlands and marine environments, can be a very rewarding and beautiful experience, though it should be noted that some deep forays into Vietnam’s natural treasures may inevitably require compromises in accommodation standards.  

Among the notable rare species of animal to be found in Vietnam are Indochinese Tiger, Clouded Leopard, Asian Elephant, Asian Black Bear, Sun Bear, Siamese Crocodile and many primate species including Black Gibbons, Cat Ba Leaf Monkey and Delacour’s Langur.

Sheltering in the various habitats of mountain, pine and broadleaf forests, wetlands and mangrove swamps, over 11,000 plant species, including numerous endemic orchids and over 1,000 mosses provide the intricate and diverse biological backdrop for an impressive array of animals, reptiles, birds and insect species, whilst offshore islands and reefs contain over 300 species of coral and are the playground of some 2,000 species of fish.