A Vietnamese conservationist working to save pangolins from the devastating multi-billion dollar wildlife trade won a prestigious award Tuesday for his role in rescuing over a thousand of one of the world’s most endangered creatures.
Highly prizer in China and Southeast Asia for their flesh, pangolins are seen as a delicacy for the mistaken belief that they canncure anything from impotence to cancer.
Nguyen Van Thai, director of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife, has been at the forefront of efforts to raise the alarm internationally about the serious problems Vietnam faces as a major hub for wildlife trafficking.
He was awarded the Goldman Environmental prize – known colloquially as the “Green Nobel” – which honours grassroots environmental leaders who have made “sustained and significant efforts” to protect and enhance the natural world.
Pangolins often described as “scaly anteaters” – defenceless in the world, curling up into a ball when they are frightened, allowing poachers to easily gather them up.