Alternative site name(s)
Bai Boi, Ca Mau, Dat Mui, Duoc Ca Mau, Ong Trang, Tam Giang, Trang Sao
8o32′ – 8o49′N, 104o40′ – 104o55′E
From Ho Chi Minh City
Topography and hydrology
Mui Ca Mau National Park is situated at the southernmost tip of Vietnam. The site was originally covered in natural mangrove forest but the vast majority was destroyed during the Second Indochina War and, later, by conversion to aquacultural ponds and agricultural land. Most of the aquacultural ponds have been abandoned, and now support extensive areas of re-colonising mangrove forest. There are extensive mudflats, which are also being colonised naturally by mangrove. The site is continually growing due to accretion rates along the coastline of up to 50 m per year in places.
The site is bisected by the Lon river, in the mouth of which two islands (Con Trong and Con Ngoai) have been formed by the accretion of sediment. To the north of the site is the estuary of the Bai Hap river, one of the largest rivers in Ca Mau province.
Mui Ca Mau National Park contains extensive areas of intertidal mudflat, and large areas of mangrove forest, dominated by Avicennia alba, A. officinalis, A. marina, Rhizophora apiculata and Kandelia candel. Also, Bruguiera sp. and Sonneratia sp. occur sporadically.
Some small areas of old growth Rhizophora apiculata mangrove remain at Mui Ca Mau. This vegetation type probably covered much of the area in the past. Evidence of over-exploitation is abundant, with many old logged bases of large Rhizophora apiculata trees present. There are still some big trees over 10 years old, though generally the habitat is degraded. Signs of mangrove forest regeneration, however, have been observed at Mui Ca Mau. There are also extensive Rhizophora apiculata plantations at the national park, the stocking density of which varies from one to six trees per square metre.
Mui Ca Mau National Park is considered to be an important site for a number of migratory waterbirds. Globally threatened and near-threatened migratory waterbird species recorded at the site include Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis, Asian Dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus, Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes, Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala, Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis and Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus. In addition, large concentrations of Eurasian Curlew N. arquata have been recorded at the site. Consequently, Mui Ca Mau contains two Important Bird Areas: Dat Mui and Bai Boi.
The habitats of particular importance for migratory waterbirds at Mui Ca Mau include exposed mud, and remnant and regenerating mangrove forest. As intertidal habitats are rapidly accreting, the site will continually enlarge, and its importance as a site for migratory waterbirds may increase.
The mangrove bird community at Mui Ca Mau is dominated by common mangrove species, including Ashy Tailorbird Orthotomus ruficeps, Golden-bellied Gerygone Gerygone sulphurea, Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosa and Pied Fantail Rhipidura javanica.
The mangroves at Mui Ca Mau perform an important coastal protection function, which is why there has been a strong emphasis on coastal protection in the management of the site to date. The national park also has high potential for recreation, ecotourism, conservation education and scientific research. Although present visitor use of the national park is low, visitor numbers are likely to increase in the future. One attraction to visitors is the fact that Mui Ca Mau is the southernmost tip of mainland Vietnam.