Laotian Rock Rat - Chuột đá trường sơn


Laotian Rock Rat (Photo: Tilo Nadler)                              

About Laotian Rock Rat

Laotian Rock Rat (LRR) Laonestes aenigmamus was first discovered from Khammoune Province (Lao PDR) as a new species of new genus Laonastes and new family Laonastidae (Jenkins et al. 2005). Dawson et al. (2006) compared anatomical characters between LRR and fossil family Diatomyidae and found that LRR was actually a surviving member of the otherwise extinct rodent family Diatomyidae, known from early Oligocene to late Miocene sites in Pakistan, India, Thailand, China, and Japan. As noted by the authors LRR is an unique case among placental mammals, pertains to a clade (Diatomyidae) that was formerly believed to have been extinct for more than 11 million years. From a paleontological and phylogenetic perspective, efforts to conserve Laonastes, the sole survivor of a morphologically distinctive family of rodents with deep evolutionary roots in Asia, should be given the highest priority.
In 2011, a small population of LRR was discovered in buffer zone of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park , Central Vietnam (Nguyen et al. 2012). This discovery promotes opportunities of conservation for this mystery species. However, very little is known about the status and ecology of the Vietnamese LRR population. The Laotian Rock Rat inhabits lower part of steep karst towers with many rock boulders and crevices under tall limestone evergreen forest. They use small rock crevices for their dens. The LRR feeds mainly on plant parts (leaves, buds, fruits and roots) and also sometimes also insects (cicada, mantis, grasshopper). The LRR is seriously threatened by extinction due to very restricted distribution range, high pressure of hunting and habitat disturbance. The species has been enlisted in IUCN Red List at Endangered category (EN) for priority conservation action

Moist limestone evergreen forest is habiat of LRR in Phong Nha - Ke Bang

Laotian Rock Rat Conservation Programme

Centre for Resources, Environment and Climate change (CeREC) in collaboration with Quang Binh Provincial Forest Protection Department and Management Board of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park is implementing Laotian Rock Rat conservation programme with the aim of providing long-term conservation for the LRR population in Vietnam.


1. Identify the distribution range, population status and assess threats to LRR and their habitat in Phong Nha - Ke Bang area. Study of LRR behavior and ecology for conservation implication.
2. Raise awareness and pride among local communities concerning the LRR: Producing and distribution of local people friendly education materials (conservation posters, leaflets in local languages) and conduct village meetings for LRR conservation education
3. Support community-based protection of the LRR by a village patrol groups: Establish Village conservation groups (VCGs) at guardian communes; Conduct capacity building to the members of VCGs on forest patrol, law enforcement and support operation of VCGs
4. Capacity training for staff members of Phong Nha - Ke Bang NP on basic conservation principles, techniques of forest patrol and law enforcement and LRR monitoring.

Publications &Reports:

1. Status and Conservation Of Laonastes aenigmamus Population in Vietnam. Download Pdf
2. Clarification of taxonomy, determination of distribution areas and assessment on threats towards conservation of Truong son rock rat (laonastes sp.) in Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, Quang Binh province. Download Pdf
3. Distribution and habitat of the Laotian Rock Rat Laonastes aenigmamus Jenkins, Kilpatrick, Robinson & Timmins, 2005 (Rodentia: Diatomyidae) in Vietnam. Biodiversity Data Journal 2: e4188 doi: 10.3897/BDJ.2.e4188. Download Pdf
4. Phylogeography of the Laotian rock rat (Diatomyidae: Laonastes): implications for Lazarus taxa. Mammal Study 40: 109–114 (2015). Download Pdf


Poster for LRR conservation education in Phong Nha - Ke Bang, Vietnam

Partners & Donors:

CeREC thanks the following organizations for their generous support and sponsorship to our Laotian Rock Rat Conservation Programme


Account information for the donors:

Even a small amount can help!

Name of the Account: Centre for Resources, Environment and Climate Change
Account Number: 1500201086156
Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (AgriBank) - Hanoi Branch
Address of the Bank: 77 Lac Trung Street, Hai Ba Trung District, Ha Noi City
Swift Code: VBAAVNVX 401

Please attach a note: Laotian Rock Rat (if its possible)
Thank you!

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