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Here’s to our supporters!

As a locally led frontline Non-profit organisation in Vietnam, we rely on our supporters, donors and volunteers who make our work possible. Without our supporters, animals would not be fed, let alone released. We wouldn’t have money to hire the truck to transport pangolins to release sites, we wouldn’t have enough medical supplies to look after animals when they come to injured and sick from the illegal wildlife trade. We wouldn’t have staff to work with communities, train rangers and lobby for law changes nationally.

As a locally led frontline Non-profit organisation in Vietnam, we rely on our supporters, donors and volunteers who make our work possible. Without our supporters, animals would not be fed, let alone released. We wouldn’t have money to hire the truck to transport pangolins to release sites, we wouldn’t have enough medical supplies to look after animals when they come to injured and sick from the illegal wildlife trade. We wouldn’t have staff to work with communities, train rangers and lobby for law changes nationally.

Today, we’d like to celebrate our supporters who raise funds for us and in the process give us hope not just for animals and conservation but for people as well. People like Alegria Olmeda who started a group called People for Pangolins and began the international ‘Pump it for Pangolins’ events that occur on World Pangolin day. Or Hattie Ashton for two years running has run bake sales to raise money for us. Or Mike Matthews who designs and sells T-shirts and donates the profits to worthy frontline organisations around the world. Buy his pangolin T-shirt- profits come to us!. One recent story of group who raised funds for us, completely touched our hearts. We saw a donation come through our Paypal system the note said from Deb Glass and her class. We always love hearing when kids get involved in conservation, so we emailed her and asked her what she did. She wrote back was inspiring for us. We learnt not only about how good people can be, but how teachers all around the world do wonderful things. Here is an edited version of what she wrote:

This is how our “Save the Pangolin” project came about.  I teach a third grade class in a mid-city school in Los Angeles, California.  Earlier in the year, the students learned about endangered animals by picking one animal each to study that was on the critically endangered species list.  They researched the animal, found out why it was critically endangered, then created a PowerPoint presentation about their findings.

They loved their project so much that I decided to extend it by creating a social justice unit for them.  I asked the students to pick a critically endangered animal that they had not already studied.  We looked at pictures of the animals on the list, and the kids picked the pangolin.  None of us had heard of it, they thought it was interesting looking, and also decided that it was cute.

We started working on the unit.  I decided we would raise money by having a “store.”  We would sell erasers, pencils, bookmarks, and notepads to other children at school.  The kids got to work.  We divided into 5 groups: executive, warehouse, personnel, advertising, and financial.  The kids wrote business plans; they wrote a persuasive letter to our principal asking for permission to have the store; they ordered the supplies; wrote a loan paper to me (I was their “investor” who needed to be reimbursed for my outlay of money); wrote up time sheets and a schedule for classmates to work the store; created two PowerPoints about the pangolin to share with each 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade class at school (approximately 230 children); created posters about the pangolin; decided on prices for our products so that we would have a profit; created two different flyers to send home; and a few other things!

We set five days for selling… Because all of the other students had seen a PowerPoint about the pangolin, had learned about it and why it was endangered, they wanted to help by buying our products.  One of my students suggested that we also put out a donation can so that kids might be inclined to give their change from their purchase. We ran out of most of our products by the third day of our sale!  Thank you for asking us to share our classroom story!  The children wrote a letter to Mr. Nguyen and it will go in the mail today, so that will be coming, too.

Our profit was $340 after paying me back for our initial investment!  The students were so incredibly excited they wanted to order more things to sell and keep the project going.  Unfortunately, we had to move on to other units of study!  What they didn’t even completely realize was how much math and writing we were doing throughout the unit.  It was so fun to watch them learn and be so totally engaged in their learning.  Connecting learning to a real-life scenario is significantly more powerful and meaningful for students than a “regular” course of study.

So, that is our story. I feel it is imperative that students be taught that no matter how old they are (or young for that matter), and even if they can’t do everything, everyone can and should do something to help make our world a better place.

Thank you all for dedicating your lives to save the pangolins. I’m glad we were able to give a little help to this critically endangered animal.

Thank you to all our supporters! Deb Glass’s class raised 340 USD. Enough money for us to feed two pangolins for 17 weeks; or rescue 3 pangolins (about 100 USD per trip) and medical supplies for one month; or spend one week in the field tracking pangolins with camera traps (300 USD) and buy 2 sleeping boxes (20 USD each) with the change!

Vietnam’s first Pangolin Education Centre opens on World Pangolin Day

Two smiling men at opening ceremony

On Saturday 20th February, Save Vietnam’s Wildlife in collaboration with Cuc Phuong National Park opened Vietnam’s first wildlife education centre that focusses on pangolins, the most traded animal in the world. The Carnivore and Pangolin Education Centre is a crucial part of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife efforts to fight the wildlife trade in critically endangered pangolins and other threatened carnivores in Vietnam. The opening occurred on World Pangolin Day, an internationally recognised day that offers the opportunity for pangolin enthusiasts and conservationists to join together in raising awareness about these unique mammals and their plight.

The event was attended by over 180 people and included representatives from the Vietnamese government, British Ambassador Giles Levers, dignitaries from international embassies in Vietnam, national conservation organisations and local schoolchildren. A highlight of the launch day was the making of large Pangolin Puzzle by all attendees and local school children performing fun conservation based activities to celebrate World Pangolin Day.

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British Ambassador Giles Lever and SVW’s Executive Director Thai Van Nguyen at the opening ceremony – Photo: Save Vietnam’s Wildlife

Mr. Đỗ Văn Lập, the Vice Director of Cuc Phuong National Park who gave the opening address stated that

“Cuc Phuong National Park is delighted to collaborate with Save Vietnam’s Wildlife in this new education venture and it will be an important addition to the many conservation activities currently offered at the park”

Mr. Đỗ Văn Lập, Mr. Nguyễn Văn Thái, Mr. Nguyễn Văn Dương, Ms. Pham Thi Huong, Ambassador Giles Lever cut the ribbon to open the new Education Centre - Photo: Save Vietnam's Wildlife

Mr. Đỗ Văn Lập, Mr. Nguyễn Văn Thái, Mr. Nguyễn Văn Dương, Ms. Pham Thi Huong, Ambassador Giles Lever cut the ribbon to open the new Education Centre – Photo: Save Vietnam’s Wildlife

Ho Thi Kim Lan, Education Manager of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife expressed how education is an important arm of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife mission to ensure a secure future for Vietnam’s wildlife:

“Our Carnivore and Pangolin Education Centre was devised in response to the urgent need for engaging wildlife education in Vietnam. Education is key! The innovative and interactive atmosphere of the Education Centre will help a wide range of communities enjoy discovering and learning about these unique creatures, understand the threats they are facing and then hopefully mobilize to save these incredible species from extinction.”

Children from Cuc Phuong Primary School learning about Binturongs with Save Vietnam’s Wildlife’s Lan Thi Kim Ho. - Photo: Save Vietnam's Wildlife

Children from Cuc Phuong Primary School learning about Binturongs with Save Vietnam’s Wildlife’s Lan Thi Kim Ho. – Photo: Save Vietnam’s Wildlife

Save Vietnam’s Wildlife’ Carnivore and Pangolin Education Centre is located in Cuc Phuong National Park, Ninh Binh Province and will be open to the public after the 20th of February.

Inside the new Education Centre with children from Cuc Phuong Primary School - Photo: Save Vietnam's Wildlife

Inside the new Education Centre with children from Cuc Phuong Primary School – Photo: Save Vietnam’s Wildlife