On 1 November 2023, after almost three weeks of joint work with Vietnamese colleagues from Hanoi Pedagogical University No. 2 Xuan Hoa, Nguyen Tat Thanh University, Ho Chi Minh City, Assoc. Prof. Nikolay Simov, Assoc. Prof. Rostislav Bekchiev, Assoc. Prof. Mario Langurov from the National Museum of Natural History, Sofia (NMNHS) and Assoc. Prof. Ivaylo Dedov from the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research (IBER) returned to Bulgaria.
For the second time scientists from the two institutes of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences have embarked on a study of the fauna of this part of Southeast Asia. The focus of the present expedition were the mountain ranges of Northern Vietnam — Tam Dao, Ngũ Chỉ Sơn and Fansipan mountains.
After the first research expedition of the Bulgarian team held in 2018, the current study expanded the set of research techniques and methods used by the scientists, including specialised soil traps, flight interception traps and UV lamp traps.
The diverse zoological material collected gives scientists hope of discovering species of animals new for science, as well as species, which are new for the fauna of Vietnam and the region. The species found at the highest point of Indochina and the findings of slugs, which are endemic to Vietnamese mountainous genera, are of particular interest to the Bulgarian researchers.
The series of workshops and lectures the Bulgarian scientists gave at the Nguyen Tat Thanh University, Ho Chi Minh City and at the Industrial University of Ho Chi Minh City were an important part of the visit. The lectures had the following topics: Bulgarian-Vietnamese Expeditions in Forest Ecosystems — Results and Opportunities for Future Cooperation (Assoc. Prof. Rostislav Bekchiev); Introduction to Environmental Protection — Concepts, Practices, Problems and Prospects; Bulgarian Case Study (Assoc. Prof. Nikolay Simov); Rose Oil and the Bulgarian Rose; Concept and Opportunities for Use in Vietnam (Assoc. Prof. Mario Langurov); Snail Variety as a Business Opportunity to Develop Pharmaceutical and Food Products (Assoc. Prof. Ivaylo Dedov).
In the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Bulgaria in Hanoi, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Bulgaria in Vietnam, His Excellency Pavlin Todorov received the Bulgarian scientists and the hosts’ representative, Prof. Vũ Quang Mạnh from Nguyen Tat Thanh University. The meeting discussed opportunities for cooperation in the field of education and training of doctoral students, as well as ideas for future joint research projects to study the flora and fauna of Vietnam, including through state-of-the-art methods, digitisation of collections and environmental monitoring.
The expedition closed with a visit to Ho Chi Minh City and the region, where the Bulgarian scientists got acquainted with the local history and ethnography.
Upon their return, the scientists continue their research work with processing of collected zoological samples in the laboratories of NMNHS and IBER.
The scientific expedition has been organised at the invitation of Prof. Vũ Quang Mạnh and funded by Hanoi Pedagogical University.