Meet a wildlife hero in Montana

From Thai Van Nguyen, YSEALI program 2015

First, I want to introduce myself. I am a Vietnamese conservationist and currently manage a non-profit organization called Save Vietnam’s Wildlife. I have spent 10 years working to protect the pangolins, carnivores and other species from extinction as Wildlife trade in Vietnam is common and many animals are illegally hunted and traded. I hope we can bring a brighter future for the wildlife.

One of question that has been always in my head is the knowing of pangolins among public in America. Should I try to introduce the pangolins and their issues while I am in America? With the support from YSEALI program, I had opportunity to travel to San Francisco to give a presentation about the pangolins and to attend two wildlife trade panels there. It was surprise me that many people did not know about pangolins. I have to use the word “scaly anteater” and the photo of armadillo to start introducing about pangolins.

Three days after coming back from San Francisco, staff from National Wildlife Federation told me to come to meet Kate Davis. I read about Kate on her website and on Internet. I know Kate is an animal lover, especially with reptiles and birds. I thought I need to spend 15 minutes to introduce the pangolin with Kate before we can work together.

However, It was not happened. The first thing I saw when I came to Kate’s house is the armadillo and then the pangolin statue. Kate then told me she knew pangolins when she was in Africa in 1983 and now she is aware of the hunting and trading issues of pangolins. Fantastic, I then just need to tell her about our works here in Vietnam and the issues we faced. Kate gave me all wonderful advice on what we should do.

I have whole afternoon with Kate and I really impress by what Kate has contributed to the wildlife education. Kate has been spending 28 years to set up and run the Raptors of the Rockies. She has been carrying over 1560 program with her birds to educate people about the birds and encourage people to spend time for outdoor activities. She builds all bird cages, and spends everyday to clean, feed and look after for the birds. She also wrote many books about birds, with most of beautiful photos she took by herself.

Thank you Kate Davis! Yes, one person can change a lots. You are a real hero. I wishes all the bests to you, your birds and your education program.

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