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Vietnam pheasant

Project overview

What?  Vietnam pheasant (Lophura edwardsi)

Why? Vietnam pheasants, also known as Edwards’ pheasants, have not been seen in the wild since 2000, but ex-situ breeding programmes have provided a lifeline for the species

How? Establishing breeding centres across their former range with the hopes of introduction into the wild

Where? Annamese Lowland Forests, north-central Vietnam

When? 2017–2023

Status in the wild

Vietnam pheasants are classed as critically endangered according to the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Red List, which is a classification scheme that allocates a particular level of threat faced by each species.

However, because the pheasants have not been spotted in the wild for many years, scientists fear that they may have already moved up the list to the classification of Extinct in the Wild.

Vietnamese pheasant 4

Ex-situ breeding

Thankfully, there are several zoos that have many years’ experience in keeping and breeding Vietnam pheasants and, although its status in the wild may be uncertain, it has a substantial captive population. This work helps to ensure that wild Vietnam pheasants are not a thing of the past.

Alongside the pheasants that we keep and breed at Paignton Zoo, our staff have worked alongside colleagues from Viet Nature to establish a captive breeding centre in their former range in the hope that animals may be reintroduced once their habitat is secure.

Meet Paignton’s pheasants
Vietnamese pheasant 2

Conducting research

There is limited knowledge on the behaviour of Vietnam pheasants and little research has been published about them. As we have been breeding pheasants successfully at Paignton Zoo for several years, we have carefully monitored breeding and rearing behaviours in our own animals and have identified potential behaviours that indicate the onset of breeding.

This research aims to inform population management in zoos and in Vietnam.