Spreading the love for nature to the community

NDO – Le Thi Trang (34) has been named among the world’s top ten conservationists, called the “Hotspot Heroes”, in 2020 by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), for her efforts in protecting biodiversity in Vietnam.
Le Thi Trang (right) guiding people to observe doucs through binoculars.

Bringing “the queen of primates” to the city

Trang, who is Vice Director of the GreenViet Centre of Biodiversity Conservation in Da Nang City, has implemented many community activities to promote Son Tra Peninsula and the red-shanked doucs (Pygathrix nemaeus) which is considered the “queen of primates”. GreenViet possesses valuable documents on biodiversity in Son Tra Peninsula as its members have been conducting studies for many years. However, very few people know about the importance of Son Tra or the plants and animals living there.

GreenViet has carried out many activities to communicate Son Tra’s biodiversity to the community. Trang used to ask permission from the authorities to stick the pictures of the families of red-shanked doucs on the bus shelters in Da Nang. With the message of “Joining hands to protect red-shanked doucs”, five propaganda panels were put at the central points of the city, attracting the attention of people and visitors. Thanks to the activity, many people have learned that Son Tra is home to a valuable primate species that is in need of protection as well as possesses a biodiversity that few people have ever noticed even thoygh Son Tra is located right in the city.

Trang has taught directly within the extra-curricular courses on natural conservation themed “little scientists” for primary and high school students. She has taken students to visit and learn about son Tra as well as held many photo exhibitions and seminars on biodiversity conservation. The journey “I love Son Tra”, which has taken place since 2013, has received great attention from local people and visitors of all ages in Da Nang City. The event is expected to attract around 500 people to learn about biodiversity and see the red-shanked doucs in Son Tra Peninsula each year.

Love for the forest

Le Thi Trang has worked for GreenViet since 2013 because she has always believed in the centre’s mission that not only helps Vietnamese people to understand the value of forests but also protect the forests of the country. Over the past years, she has dedicated to activities to educate the nature conservation among students. In her opinion, children are the seeds contributing to forest protection. The extra-curricular lessons, practical experiences in Son Tra, and photo exhibitions in schools have been always attractive to them. The courses have been held since 2014, under many different names, and are expected to attract around 200 students per year.

Notably, the centre has mobilised the contributions from the community to the building of the Centre for the Nature Experience Education in Son Tra Peninsula, which is located in Tho Quang Ward. It will contribute to spread the message of biodiversity to over 5,000 people and visitors each year.

With the efforts in mobilising and connecting different agencies and organisations to save the living environment in Son Tra, GreenViet has brought about one of the most remarkable stories about successful biodiversity conservation in Vietnam. A campaign was launched to save Son Tra from uncontrolled tourism development and the largest population of the endangered red-shanked doucs as well as to call for people to join the conservation movement. “Trang is the centre of the Son Tra campaign. She has brought about dynamism, creativity and endless energy. The work of Trang and GreenViet is an inspiration to me”, said CEPE’s Director Jack Tordoff.

Once the work in Son Tra seemed to be alright, Trang began to carry out projects in Quang Nam and Kon Tum to protect the gray-shanked doucs; mobilise the participation of the whole community to the conservation towards the building of a nature conservation areas; and inform people not to hunt wild animals but to protect the forests.

Le Thi Trang shared: “GreenViet is inspiring other communities in neighbouring provinces to protect their natural resources. I have always believed in empowering young people, especially, to save wildlife. Therefore, I will focus on inspiring and advising local young conservationists to develop their careers”.