Young conservationist full of enthusiasm for wildlife protection

Wildlife conservation scientist Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, popularly known as Trang Nguyen, was recently listed in the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list. She recently published a book entitled ‘Chang Hoa Da – Gau’ (Chang is Wild about Bears).
Wildlife conservation scientist Nguyen Thi Thu Trang


She granted an interview to the Thoi Nay (Today) publication of Nhan Dan (The People) Newspaper to talk more about the book and her enthusiasm for her work.

Question: Can you share us about your first day working in wildlife conservation?

I was admitted as a volunteer at TRAFFIC Organisation during the summer when I was a tenth grader. I worked there for two years, and was the youngest volunteer as the others were all university students. I then worked as a volunteer for other organisations.

You have joined trips to hotspots of the illegal wildlife trade at home and abroad. Have you ever been threatened and tracked due to your involvement in this work?

Yes, of course. I encountered poachers in a natural reserve while doing research work with an anti-poaching special task force. I also confronted smuggling gangs while conducting secret investigations to collect information for the environmental police.

However, I want to emphasise that it is not true to say working in wildlife conservation means facing harsh working conditions and dangers, because the practice includes many different aspects, such as research on species, population and ecosystems, or conservational education. It can be dangerous however as I said while doing undercover investigation on illegal wildlife trade.

The cover of Trang Nguyen's book entitled ‘Chang Hoa Da – Gau’ (Chang is Wild about Bears).

You have released books featuring your working experience, including ‘Tro Ve Noi Hoang Da’ (Return to the wilderness) and ‘Chang Hoa Da – Gau’ (Chang is Wild about Bears). What are your expectations about the books?

In addition to conveying obvious messages on wildlife and nature conservation, I want to tell children and parents that girls can have great dreams to become scientists, astronauts, engineers, match professors, wildlife conservationists, and historical figures. And they have the power to make their dreams come true. Adults should not fix them into a popular form but let them grow naturally and pursue what they dream about.

Can you reveal anything to us about your next books?

My next book is about elephants, I have completed the text and the illustrations are being done by painter Jeet Zdung. The book is scheduled to be completed by June this year.

In addition, my other book entitled ‘100 small things I have done for the Earth’ was planned to be released in early May but the announcement ceremony was delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Thank you so much for your sharing!

Trang Nguyen finished her PhD in Biodiversity Management at the University of Kent, England. She is the founder and executive director of WildAct, an NGO launched in 2018 with a focus on monitoring illegal wildlife trade markets and provides conservation education programmes for Vietnamese youth.

In 2018, at the age of 28, she won the nature conservation prize - the Future for Nature Award, and the Eco-warrior from Elle Style Awards. The same year, she was also nominated for the Women of the Future Awards Southeast Asia for her contribution to global wildlife conservation.