A Vietnamese Wins “Green Nobel” Prize


Mr. Nguyen Van Thai is the second Vietnamese representing Asia to receive the Goldman Environmental Prize 2021 for his contributions to wildlife conservation.

On the afternoon of June 15, the Goldman Environmental Prize 2021 Award Council announced the six winners representing different regions around the world. Mr. Nguyen Van Thai (39), Director of the Save Vietnam's Wildlife, is the only Asian representative to receive the prize. The other five winners include Gloria Majiga-Kamoto (Malawi, Africa), Maida Bilal (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Europe), Kimiko Hirata (Japan, archipelago and island nations), Sharon Lavigne (USA) and Liz Chicaje Churay (Peru).

This year, a Virtual Award Ceremony was conducted due to the Covid-19 epidemic. Each winner received a trophy and a monetary prize of USD 200,000, which can be used to expand professional activities and international cooperation.

Nguyen Van Thai
Mr. Nguyen Van Thai has made tremendous contributions to wildlife conservation in general and the pangolin species in particular. Photo: SVW.

Mr. Nguyen Van Thai has made significant contributions to the conservation of illegally traded wildlife. Through the non-profit organisation Save Vietnam's Wildlife that he founded, Mr Thai and his colleagues have rescued more than 1,500 pangolins, and in conjunction with rangers have destroyed more than 9,700 animal traps, dismantled many illegal camps, and arrested many poachers.

In addition to preventing illegal wildlife trade and poaching, Mr. Thai initiated an educational program to raise awareness of Vietnamese people on the importance of wildlife conservation.

He has published various research papers, attended international conferences and developed the first procedures for monitoring and rehabilitating pangolins in Vietnam, including the introduction of the first Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Education Centre of Vietnam in Ninh Binh; Vietnam's first Asian Pangolin Rehabilitation Centre. As a result, 80% of severely injured pangolins were treated and recovered.

Mr Thai holding Goldman Environmental Prize trophy depicting a serpent biting its tail
Mr. Thai holding Goldman Environmental Prize trophy depicting a serpent biting its tail, a symbol of nature’s power of renewal. Photo: SVW.

Mr. Thai was “very surprised” to hear about his prize winning, as the nomination and review process was all confidential. " I am very proud that all our efforts in wildlife conservation are recognised, not only in Vietnam, but in the world", he shared.

The Goldman Environmental Prize, established in 1989 and often referred to as the "Green Nobel", is a prize awarded annually to the world's environmental grassroots heroes, in recognition of their important contributions to nature conversation. Vietnam’s first representative to receive this prize in 2018 for her achievements in sustainable energy development is Ms. Nguy Thi Khanh, Director of the Green Innovation and Development Centre (GreenID).

Source: VNExpress

Additional information