In 1978, the South Cat Tien and North Cat Tien parks were put under the State's protection. In 1992, the Cat Loc Park was listed in the programme for the protection of natural wild animals and flora. In December 1998, these three parks joined together to become the Cat Tien National Park, under the management of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Covering an area of 74,319 hectares, the Cat Tien National Park has preserved its original natural soil with a diverse ecological system and many rare and valuable species of animals listed in the Red Book of Endangered Animals. The landscape surrounding the Park is magnificent, and the local people have maintained practising customs and habits full of national cultural identities.
Coming along National Highway 20 from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Lat, at Milestone No.174 being Tan Phu cross-road, and turning left, you will see a board "Cat Tien National Park - 24km".
Let come into the forest on a trail covered with tree leaves. The sunshine was on the canopies, layer after layer. The air was humid. The cicadas resounded over the forest. Don't forget to see a 400-year-old conife there. Going a bit further you can see another tree, called bang lang (Lagerstroemie corniculata), which is almost 300 years old. From its trunk of nearly 3 metres in diameter, 6 ivory sub-trunks sprouted. There are many other strange trees in the forest: a red-wood tree having a diametre of 3.7m, a benjamin fig having a fasciculate root that runs along the stream and can shade about 20 people, a banyan tree having a hollow trunk which is large enough for 3 people, to name but a few.
So far, in Cat Tien Park, 1,610 kinds of flora have been classified which belong to 75 species, 162 families and 724 branches, many of them listed in the Red Book.
The Dong Nai River is a natural boundary that embraces three sides of Cat Tien Park. On the left bank, villages and gardens are built close to the water, and on the right bank are wild forests with primitive green canopies. Numerous species of birds built their nests in the canopies. Inside the primitive forest, there are various kinds of fauna typical for the low land of the eastern Truong Son and the Central Highlands. According to surveys made by the Park's Management Board, there are 77 kinds of animals belonging to 28 families and 10 species; 326 kinds of bird in 62 families and 18 species; 37 kinds of reptiles in 18 families and 3 species; 133 kinds of fish in 28 families, and a wide range of insects. Most worthy of note are the animals listed in the Red Book of Endangered Animals such as Ban ten bull, Gaur bull, tiger, bear, wolf, black-foot monkey, peacock, white-neck crane, pheasant (which are found only in Southeast Asia), crocodile, pantheon, etc. In particular, there is a group of 7-8 one-tusk rhinoceros, which has attracted attention from both domestic and foreign scientists. At 4 a.m, on May 17, 1999, an automatic set of cameras captured images of a grown-up rhinoceros, which has been classified as a member of the Java rhinoceros family. In November 1998, in Phu My Village, Cat Tien District, an ancient village dating back 2,500-3,000 years was discovered. This is a complex of relics, including temples and towers and many artifacts, which proved the mixture of the Chan Lap civilization of the south and the Cham Pa civilization of the north. Among the artifacts, there are several statues which were for worshipping, such as the Linga-Yoni (sacred worshipping items representing the human sexual organs). There is a Linga, 2.1m high, which is the biggest of this kind in the world. Many other vestiges showed that Cat Tien was the Holy Land of the ancient Phu Nam Kingdom built about 2,000 years ago.