Vietnam’s Wildlife: An Ecosystem in Peril

The nonprofit organization Save Vietnam’s Wildlife was formed in 2014 to aid pangolins and other precious native species of Vietnam’s tropical rainforests. Their mission is to stop the extinction and champion the recovery of threatened species in Vietnam. Their primary focus is the support of the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program in collaboration with the [...]

The nonprofit organization Save Vietnam’s Wildlife was formed in 2014 to aid pangolins and other precious native species of Vietnam’s tropical rainforests. Their mission is to stop the extinction and champion the recovery of threatened species in Vietnam.

Their primary focus is the support of the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program in collaboration with the Cuc Phuong National Park.

The Environmental Investigation Agency estimated that in the last 15 years 1 to 1.5 million pangolins have been illegally traded across Europe, Africa, and Asia. It is easy to see why pangolins are endangered. They are considered the most highly impacted species by the illegal wildlife trade, as their meat is considered a status symbol and their scales are still used in traditional medicine in a variety of Asian cultures.

Data on the amount of pangolins and scales recovered suggests the number of pangolins illegally taken each year is in the tens of thousands. This means that a pangolin is taken from the forest every 4 seconds.

Pangolins are unique and fascinating animals described by naturalist David Attenborough as the most endearing animals he has ever met.

If something doesn’t change, our children could see a world where they no longer exist.

Not Just a Pangolin Problem

Save Vietnam’s Wildlife is not just concerned with pangolins. All of Vietnam’s wildlife is endangered because of hunting, the illegal animal trade, and habitat loss due to human population expansion.

Vietnam’s Wildlife concerns itself with 39 native species including several species of pangolins and civets as well as binturongs, hairy nosed otters, leopard cats, and badger ferrets.

5 Ways Save Vietnam’s Wildlife is Creating Change

Save Vietnam’s Wildlife uses a 5 faceted approach to changing the fate of Vietnam’s native wildlife. Their combination of rescue and release, habitat protection, conservation research, outreach and education, and advocacy has made all the difference in the world for hundreds of animals.

Rescue and release is the action of saving as many as possible of the 1000s of animals falling prey to illegal hunting each year. Save Vietnam’s Wildlife has a rapid response team trained and ready to deploy when officials confiscate animals from traffickers. Many animals arrive injured or ill due to trapping techniques, mishandling, abuse, and the poor conditions they are kept in once captured.

Though sometimes the injuries are too great and animals have to be euthanized or live out the rest of their lives at the center, the goal is always to rehabilitate and release as many animals as possible.

Habitat protection is a critical component in the mission of species protection. Save Vietnam’s Wildlife works with park rangers to train them to defend local populations against the illegal animal trade as well as educating villages on conservation

Conservation research is another extremely important facet of saving precious wildlife. So much is left to be learned about many of Vietnam’s native species. Save Vietnam’s Wildlife uses field research to further knowledge of these elusive animals. These teams use many techniques to monitor wild pangolin populations.

They use trained dogs to aid in finding evidence of populations. This is important because many traditional tracking techniques are not effective with pangolins and other nocturnal animals. Save Vietnam’s wildlife also uses social science and data collection to guide their outreach and education programs.

This outreach and education is vital. There is currently no public wildlife education program in schools. Because of this, in 2017 Save Vietnam’s Wildlife started a program for young children to attend day camps at no cost to their families. These camps expose children, sometimes for the first time, to the beauty of nature.

These camps educate and inspire kids to be curious about and appreciative of the natural world around them. Since its inception, this education program has impacted over 1,200 children. With support, the camp leaders hope to reach more children to change the future of Vietnam’s wildlife.

Children aren’t the only focus. Research indicates that the majority of the population of Vietnam does not have even a general knowledge about native wildlife.

Public outreach programs and the Cuc Phuong Carnivore and Pangolin Education Centre are doing their part in spreading the word about wildlife conservation. Additionally, over 1000 university students interested in helping have attended wildlife education seminars sponsored by the organization.

Save Vietnam’s Wildlife takes advocacy seriously. The organization works with government officials and law enforcement against the illegal wildlife trade. In 2016, a special training event was held for 54 rangers located in a hotspot for illegal wildlife trade.

Countless other rangers have benefited from similar educational events. Save Vietnam’s Wildlife also helps to shape policy regarding animals. With their help, pangolin scales have been removed from insurance coverage lists.

The organization’s future goals include stopping commercial pangolin farming and developing a national conservation plan for endangered species.  

Significance by the Numbers

The number speak for themselves.

Save Vietnam’s Wildlife is making a difference:

  • 1000s of guests have been reached since the opening of the Cuc Phuong Carnivore and Pangolin Education Centre in 2016.
  • 39 species of animals are cared for and rehabilitated at the Save Vietnam’s Wildlife facilities.
  • 1000 square meters of enclosures and facilities have been built in the last four years to care for rescued animals.
  • Nearly 700 pangolins and small carnivores have been rescued in the last four years by this organization; over half of them have been successfully released back into the wild.

How You Can Help

Save Vietnam’s Wildlife is a special organization doing very difficult, but very important work.

They have considered a future where these amazing creatures do not exist and do not want it to become a reality.

Their research, care, advocacy, and outreach are a step in the right direction.

You can be a part of this too.

Find out how you can support  Save Vietnam’s Wildlife.

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