Meet the Winners: Outstanding Service in Wildlife Protection Awards 2013


On April 22, ENV, under USAID’s ARREST Program, hosted Vietnam’s first national awards ceremony to honor five excellent individuals for their outstanding contributions to wildlife protection. Here are short biographies for these five exceptional individuals, as well as their insights into wildlife protection.



 Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer award winner Mr. Tran Thanh Binh


Name: Mr. Tran Thanh Binh

Position: Head of Lam Dong Forest Protection Department

Award: Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer


Mr. Binh was chosen in recognition of his deep passion and commitment to wildlife conservation, and hands-on leadership, which make him an inspiring role model for all of his staff. He has worked as a forest ranger for almost 30 years. 


Unlike most at his level of seniority, Mr. Binh is also still actively engaged as a leader in law enforcement in the field, which has earned him respect from all who work alongside him.


One of Mr. Binh’s biggest recent achievements has been a three-year crackdown on wildlife retailers in Lam Dong province, which has resulted in a significant reduction in the illegal sale of protected wildlife.


Mr. Binh commented on the importance of wildlife conservation saying, “I would like to call all FPD officers not to use wildlife products, and to be aggressive in dealing with wildlife crimes. Every single wild animal that is killed negatively impacts its population and our ecology. Future generations may not have chance to see those animals, such as the Javan rhino in Cat Tien National Park.”



Name: Mr. Nguyen Van Duong

Position: Deputy Head of Quang Ninh Environmental Police

Award: Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer 


Mr. Duong was selected for the award due to his strong determination, and a long and impressive list of successful wildlife confiscations and arrests. 


He has worked as a police officer for 24 years. During his career, he and his team have stopped tons of wildlife from being transported from Vietnam to China, most of them major cases involving endangered, precious and rare species such as tigers, bears, and pangolins.  


Mr. Duong is also a passionate advocate for stronger punishments for wildlife crimes to help effectively enforce the law.


He spoke about his role as a wildlife enforcement officer: “Our opinion is that law enforcement must be serious; everything must be done with heart. We fiercely fight against all illegal wildlife transportation and trade in the province. To demonstrate our determination, we will show no tolerance to criminals who violate the laws protecting endangered species. If we don’t fight them, then maybe in just a few more years, there will be no more wildlife left!”



Name: Mr. Hoang Hai Van 

Position: Journalist, Thanh Nien newspaper

Award: Outstanding Journalist 


Mr. Van received the award in recognition of his long-running commitment to raising public awareness of environmental and wildlife protection issues. He has been publishing articles for more than 20 years. 


Mr. Van has produced countless articles during his career, raising public awareness of issues relating to the use of bear bile, rhino horn, and other traditional medicine made from wildlife. He is a passionate advocate for wildlife protection and the power of public education to make a difference. His articles have been invaluable for highlighting the problems of wildlife consumption and to promote a positive change in public attitudes and behaviors.


Mr. Van recognizes the important role that the media playing is decreasing wildlife crimes: “We need to let people know that wildlife consumption is not good. The press needs to amplify the message; to discover more violations, more frequently. And it needs to push the authorities to work harder to enforce the law.”



Name: Mr. Lam Hieu Nghia

Position: Team Leader of Team Two, Ho Chi Minh City Environmental Police

Award: Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer


Mr. Nghia received this award in recognition of his consistent hard work, commitment and positive response to working with the public to address wildlife crime.


During the past year alone, he was involved in the successful detection and investigation of more than 20 cases of wildlife crime, which included the rescue of many critically endangered species. These cases involved ivory, tigers, marine turtles, civets, gibbons, macaques, otters, lorises, and many more species. Mr. Nghia is an inspirational example for law enforcement officers across the country to follow.


Commenting on the ongoing campaign to fight wildlife crime, Mr. Nghia said, “The major role of the environmental police is to investigate, detect, confront and deal with the network and the kingpins involved with illegal wildlife trade. The role of the public is extremely important. In fact, I would say it is the most important role, as we are not superheroes who can do everything. We need to convince the public to report wildlife crimes. If there is no public support, we cannot acquire valuable information.” 




Name: Nguyen Duy Tuan

Position: Journalist with VietnamNet online newspaper

Award: Outstanding Journalist


Mr. Tuan is a talented young journalist who had tried several different careers previously. He was drawn to the journalism field because of his desire to tell stories that make a difference. 


He received this award in recognition of his fortitude and bravery for spending almost two years undertaking a dangerous undercover investigation to expose the tiger farming and trade problems in Vietnam. He is a journalist who is willing to take personal risks for what he believes in, in order to raise awareness of important issues.


Mr. Tuan produced a series of seven investigative reports in 2012 on a new tiger farming trend that were so shocking they forced authorities to take immediate action in investigations, arrests and tiger seizures. He pursued the story despite receiving death threats from the violators.


Mr. Tuan encourages the Vietnamese media to play a larger role in the fight against wildlife crimes: “I think the press has a very important role to play in stopping illegal wildlife farming and trade. Especially in raising public awareness, shaping and orienting public opinion, as well as in pushing authorities to address this issue more aggressively and stop it.”


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