To Conserve and Protect

Education for Nature Vietnam Founder and Executive Director Vu Thi Quyen discuss their conservation efforts and how the public can help

Shortly after graduating from university, Vu Thi Quyen took part in a conservation project at Cuc Phuong National Park working to educate the local community on why it was important to preserve the integrity of the national park. That was back in 1996, which, as Quyen noted, “At that time you can picture that conservation, protecting nature and wildlife was kind of an alien concept in Vietnam, especially raising  awareness within the local community.”

While there may have been obstacles Quyen was able to see positive interest from the local community from the educational program she helped develop. “After two years we expanded the program to all the communities around Cuc Phuong National Park as well as the schools, and the community really loved what we were doing.”

Based on that experience, Quyen realized how important these conservation efforts were, not just to local communities, but to the entire country and began to expand her community-based educational and conservation efforts. By 2000 she founded the NGO Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) with a simple vision, “We created ENV to help other protected areas by creating similar initiatives.”

From there ENV began to train people to understand their educational and conservation focus. As they worked and grew they were invited to various national parks and protected areas to contribute to local conservation efforts. As Quyen explained, “Once there, our experts could help identify endangered species and teach Vietnamese about the need to protect wildlife and nature, but it’s not enough. For children growing up now, it could be too late.”

Loris confiscated

Through this important work ENV has changed the attitudes of not just the local community, but of park rangers and other stakeholders in these conservation efforts. Of course, not everyone is going to be on board, but they’ve dealt with them as well. “A scientist on a park staff went into the forest late one night with his brother to conduct an amphibian study. As they worked on the study they could hear a poacher approaching them. They had no guns, only a flashlight. So the younger brother shined the flashlight into the poacher’s face while the older brother held up a frog as a gun and told the poachers to freeze. They ended up arresting those poachers with nothing but a frog,” she recalled.

In 2005 EVN’s conservation efforts expanded from communitybased educational programs to a nationwide hotline: 1800 1522. As Quyen described, “We wanted to provide a trusted mechanism for the public to be involved in protecting wildlife because sometimes the public may want to help but may not trust the system, so the idea is that we could be the intermediary. So when we receive information from the public we will investigate for them and push the authorities to do their job. Whether we succeed or not we report back the results to the public. By doing so we increase transparency between the local authorities and the public.”

That transparency has translated to accountability, yielding great results. Over the years ENV has received a lot more support from officials and seen an increase in calls to the hotline from the public, all actions that are saving endangered wildlife. They now average around five new cases to investigate each day, resulting in the government imposing stricter sentencing on poachers and loggers.

More recently, ENV has started creating PSAs (public service announcements) that air on national television and radio. They produce around four new PSAs each year with topics such as “why Vietnam should not allow the farming of endangered species” or “how cruel the process of procuring bear bile for traditional liver remedies truly is”. As Quyen stated, “Through these efforts, we try to have a maximum impact if we can in three areas; public awareness, law enforcement and legislation.”

Pangolin seizure

Over the years, ENV has gone from province to province helping to free many species; thousands of bears, hundreds of tigers, pangolins, turtles, macaques and many, many more; finding them homes where they will be safe. “The capacity of law enforcement to take care of these animals has increased significantly, with many parks now having rescue centers for these animals, from a primate rescue center in Cuc Phuong National Park to a bear rescue center in Cat Tien,” said Quyen.

Bear Rescue in Dong Nai

From public awareness to law enforcement and legislation, ENV has done a great deal to help endangered wildlife in Vietnam. To be a part of that success view ENV’s PSAs on their website or YouTube, call the hotline if you see wildlife being kept in captivity or sold at local markets, and make a donation to through their website,

For more info go to or to report any illegal or suspicious activity regarding wildlife call the tollfree National Wildlife Crime Hotline at 1800 1522.

Feature image: Green sea turtle confiscated

Images Provided by ENV

Share this story, choose your platform!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr
Share on google
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on vk
Share on email
About the author:

Leave a Comment

Pills, Teas and Songs

Debby Nguyen’s new book “Pills, Teas, and Songs” is a collection of 11 stories on medicine practices across different cultures and countries, for example, traditional Chinese medicine, traditional Vietnamese medicine (inspired by her own family and heritage), Ayahuasca, indigenous healing practices of the Lakota people, Black midwifery in the US, and more. The book is

Read More »

CH House

The house is designed for three family generations who wanted to create a harmonious space in the hectic city (Hanoi) in order to enhance traditional  family life. The site of the house is a typical plot for long and narrow local tube houses; with CH house the dimensions are –  4,2 m  wide by 35

Read More »

Furever Gifts

For many, the joy of giving can be marred with the realization that gift-giving itself is a dressed up episode of consumerism. But what if you want to actually be charitable this season and buy your gift conscientiously? A number of Saigon charities and organizations sell gifts that directly benefit important causes, like womens’ economic

Read More »

Shared Knowledge

The spirit of connectedness and increased knowledge for increased knowledge sharing that animates UpLearn “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” goes the now-famous quote by former Obama advisor Rahm Emanuel. The quote seems tailored to this moment, this very one where “crisis” seems to be in abundance. The rest of it—well, where might

Read More »

Electric Youth

Oi speaks to Celine Ventalon about Miha Bodytec and EMS training in Saigon What is Electric Muscle Stimulator (EMS)?Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) training is a full-body workout that originally comes from a physiotherapy and combines a ‘free will contraction’ through an exercise and an external stimulus from an EMS device. This high-intense whole-body workout uses

Read More »

Nước Mắm

Dedicated to my tenacious bà ngoại (grandma) Text by Emili N. Lok I am a 13-year-old Vietnamese-American living in NYC. I’m also a boba lover, a Korean drama watcher, and a self-proclaimed spice food maniac. I’m currently a 7th grade student and wrote this story to feel more connected to the Vietnamese side of my

Read More »