Yok Don National Park is located in Ea Bung and Chu M'Lanh communes, Ea Sup district, Krong Na commune, Buon Don District, and Ea Po commune, Cu Jut district, in western Dak Lak province. The national park is situated on the flat plain that extends from eastern Cambodia into northern Dak Lak and southern Gia Lai provinces in Vietnam 1 hour-drive from Buon Me Thuot city.
Biodiversity of Yok Don National Park
The vegetation at Yok Don National Park is dominated by a mosaic of deciduous forest and semi-evergreen (mixed deciduous) forest. Because deciduous forest generally supports a lower floral diversity than evergreen forest, the diversity of plant species at Yok Don is lower than that at other national parks in Vietnam. According to Anon (1998), 474 vascular plant species have been recorded at the national park.
Yok Don National Park has a reputation as an important site for the conservation of large mammals. Indeed, Duckworth and Hedges (1998) consider the continued occurrence of Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Gaur Bos gaurus, Banteng B. javanicus and Tiger Panthera tigris at Yok Don to be confirmed. However, they report that the populations of all four species at the national park have suffered major declines. In addition, evidence from recent trophies and first-hand reports indicates that the national park may still support small numbers of the globally vulnerable Eld's Deer Cervus eldii (Le Trong Trai and Eames 2003). Furthermore, two globally threatened primate species also occur at the national park: Black-shanked Douc Pygathrix nigripes and Yellow-cheeked Crested Gibbon Hylobates gabriellae.
A number of globally threatened bird species have been recorded at Yok Don National Park, in particular several large and medium-sized waterbirds, including White-winged Duck Cairina scutulata, Masked Finfoot Heliopais personata and Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus (Tordoff 2002, Le Trong Trai and Eames 2003). Of particular note, Yok Don is the only site in Vietnam from where there are recent confirmed records of the globally critically endangered Giant IbisThaumatibis gigantea (Le Trong Trai and Eames 2003). Moreover, Yok Don National Park is one of the few established protected areas in Vietnam to support a significant population of the globally vulnerable Green Peafowl.
About 300 species have been recorded for the park, the high number of lowland birds, many widespread species are very common here such as Sooty-headed Bulbul, Indian Roller, Greater Flameback, Black-hooded Oriole. Besides those common species, many sought-after species that are only can be seen here and nowhere else in Vietnam.
Birds highlight of Yok Don National park
Mekong Wagtail, White-rumped Falcon, Collared Falconet, Black-hooded Woodpecker and other woodpeckers, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Alexandrine, Grey-headed, Blossom-headed Parrakeets, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon
Time for bird photography and birding in Yok Don National park
You could be birding in Yok Don whole year, but the good birding time or for bird photography is on the dry season on January to May.