SOME GULFS AND BAYS 3

In 1288 in Bai Tu Long Bay General Tran Khanh Du, three brothers of the Pham family clan and the natives of Quan Lan commune accomplished a heroic exploit by defeating a group of food supply boats of Truong Van Ho, a Yuan-Mongol general. In Bai Tu Long Bay is also located the famous temple of the hero Tran Quoc Tang (1252-1313), the third son of Tran Hung Dao (1228-1300). He was also a poet of liberal ideas and a great Zen thinker. The people have still kept the memory of his merits and have built a temple to worship him. Every year, on the 15lh day of the 1st lunar month, a festival is performed in this temple. Other great architectural structures in the Bai Tu Long Bay region are the Tinh Hai military post, the fort of the Mac dynasty on Ngoc Vung Island, the Quan Lan communal house and the 100-bay pagoda in Thang Loi commune in Van Don district.
The biodiversity of Bai Tu Long Bay is composed of typical ecological systems such as mangrove forests, tropical forests, coral reefs and island lakes.
Coral reefs are the most diversified system of biodiversity on our planet and have been titled “the tropical rain forest on the seabed”. They are located only in the shallow beds just offshore. Many types of sea animal live, lay eggs, find refuge and hunt for foot amid coral reefs. Coral reefs also have high biological productivity and are sources of the organic substances which are food for the coral itself and for other animals living amid coral reefs; therefore they help to conserve gene sources of many sea creatures. Coral reefs are very sensitive to the surrounding environment so they are an indicator of the health of the environment.
Scientists have inventoried 106 species of 34 genera and 12 families of coral, which are mainly located offshore of the islands Hon Mang Khoi, Soi Mao, Dau Cao, Da Ay, Nam Sau Nam, and in the east of Ba Mun Island. Coral reefs in Bai Tu Long Bay are not typical coral reefs. They are barely “island fringing reefs”. On coral reefs are large gaps and cracks cut by strong waves and sea currents. The terrain of the seabed is rough so the width of a coral reef is small. Some people have said that coral reefs can exist only in places with temperatures higher than 18°C, but coral reefs in Bai Tu Long Bay can exist for a long time (for a month) in the temperature less than 18°C in one year.
By January 2008 scientists had inventoried 1,909 plant and animal species. The forest ecological system records 1,028 species of high-class groups. These high-class groups are veined plant, animal, bird, reptile and amphibian groups. The sea ecological system records 881 species. The rare and valuable animals totals 60, of which 52 are listed in Red Book, including brown dove, catopuma temminckii leopard, neofelis nebulosa leopard, chamois, three-striped turtle, gecko, iguana, ptyas korros snake, bungaus fasciatus snake, naja naja snake, ophiophagus hannah cobra, etc.
The flora in Bai Tu Long Bay are rather rich and diversified, including 780 species, 468 genera and 135 families of five high-class veined plant branches. The Magnoliphita branch is predominant with 729 species, 438 genera and 114 families. The podididiophyta fern branch has 45 species, 24 genera and 16 families.
Twenty-one species of rare and valuable animals of Bai Td Long Bay were listed in the Red Book of Viet Nam in 1996. Ten species are listed in the annexes IA and IIA of the Government Decree 32/2006/CP-ND defining the list of rare and valuable animals to be protected.
Useful plant springs are composed of 431 species of herb plant, 126 species of wood tree, 44 species of fruit and edible cereal plant, 33 species of vegetable, 27 species of oil tree and 14 species of plant to be fed for cattle. In Bai Tu Long Bay simultaneously exist two kinds of life that are planktonic larvae and juveniles. This fact shows that the sea’s ecological system here is very special. Rare and valuable kinds of animals of Bai Tu Long Bay such as haliotidae sea snail, stichopus japonicus selenka, sipunculida and sirenia are listed in the World Red Book.
Bai Tu Long National Park is adjacent to Ha Long World Natural Heritage. It is clear from legends, history and reality that Bai Tu Long and Ha Long Bays are only one entity sharing the same prominent historical and natural values.
The advantages of the geology, geomorphology and terrain of Bai Tu Long National Park are the very unique traits of its own. In this park are conserved typical characteristics of the ecology of the sea and islands in the northeast of North Viet Nam. The wonderful and virgin natural landscape is very attractive to tourists.

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