Vietnamese wildlife conservationist named among world's top ten

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Le Thi Trang (R) takes students in Da Nang to the wildlife conservation center in Son Tra peninsular. Photo credit: Tien Phong Le Thi Trang (R) takes students in Da Nang to the wildlife conservation center in Son Tra peninsular. Photo credit: Tien Phong

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Le Thi Trang often feels she lives a dangerous life. 
An engineer by training, she now works as a wildlife conservationist and spends many nights in remote jungles to collect data about poaching and trafficking activities. 
The most scary part, she says, is being hunted down by agitated poachers.  
But she says it's all worth it. 
“I have always loved animals since I was a child,” Trang said in a Tien Phong newspaper report.
“There were times we had to spend a whole month in the Central Highlands to keep track of a species. We had to spend the night to get close to them.
“The animals were not scared of us, they even teased us. It’s hard work but it’s fun.”
Her work, including many field trips to the primate conservation peninsular Son Tra in Da Nang, has earned her a place in the world's top ten young conservationists. The list is published by the Future for Nature Foundation, a Dutch organization. 
The Son Tra conservation center has the largest number of langurs living in the wild, including the endanger brown-shanked. 
I want to change people mindset, that wildlife protection is a common mission and not just the job of forest rangers and conservationists.” -- Le Thi Trang
In April 2013, Trang joined Da Nang-based biodiversity conservation NGO Green Viet, which focuses on protecting douc langurs in Son Tra.
The group has been organizing trips for students from 19 primary and secondary schools in the area, as well as monthly trips for locals and tourists.
Trang, 29, applied for the Future for Nature Award in November last year, presenting her strategy to protect brown-shanked douc langurs and the biodiversity in Son Tra.

Douc langurs at Son Tra peninsula in Da Nang. Photo credit: Tien Phong
“They are a rare species in the world. There are quite many of them at Son Tra, but the city has not have an effective plan to protect them, for both environment and tourism values,” Trang said. 
She said she wants to give global conservationists more ideas about the situation of the animal in Vietnam so that she can raise funds for protecting them.
“The recognition at Future for Nature is a very big motivation for me to complete my projects,” Trang said.
One of her projects is to conduct a new study of the animals living in Son Tra. “The current data are too old and no longer accurate.”
“I also want to change people mindset, that wildlife protection is a common mission and not just the job of forest rangers and conservationists.”

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