Our Blog not only shares about what we do for the environment at CHANGE, but also events and stories that we sometimes stumble upon along the way.

Today, we would like to introduce to everyone Thao Nguyen – a new acquaintance that we barely had the chance to meet in person. But her story on the journey of making a documentary film about wildlife conservation really touches our hearts and makes us proud as animal lovers too. Let’s get started.

“The job of nature conservation and restoration has never been easy. To make it work, the key factor lies in people’s awareness on this issue nowadays.” – said Thao Nguyen, author of the impressive wildlife-conservation documentary “Too much suffering before making it home”. She made this short film to dedicate to wildlife conservationists in Cuc Phuong National Park specifically, and also to honor in general those in the same filed who were trying their best to preserve natural diversity.

The journey of wild animals to make it home

Thao used to work as a PR staff in Cuc Phuong National Park for a year, with prior experience as a volunteer there. Having the chance to join in conservation work and taking care of animals herself, she found it really fascinating, yet not that easy. The huge amount of work with manpower shortage always kept the conservationists in Cuc Phuong occupied. In addition, the alarming status of illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam nowadays made their job even much harder. According to the volunteers, hundreds of turtles were rescued and brought to the facility everyday for recovery and releasing back into the wild. Sadly, many animals were not able to survive in the wild, after suffering all mental and physical shocks they’d been through being hunted and traded. However, each and every volunteer feels happy and proud not only of their job dedicated to nature, but also “miracles” happening there.

Pictures from the short film “Too much suffering before making it home”

As a PR employee, Thao’s main job was to collect images and make videos. Therefore, she utilized her time in Cuc Phuong – along with her passion – to create documentary films on wildlife conservation, as well as interview conservationists and other volunteers whenever there was any special event.

Thao could not complete her videos without the big help from organizations other than Cuc Phuong National Park, such as Save Vietnam’s Wildlife, Endangered Primate Rescue Center (EPRC) and Cuc Phuong Turtle Conservation Center (TCC). All of her videos and interviews also took place in these 3 locations, plus all the support as well.

At first, Thao edited the videos as a short movie and wanted to participate in a SIMA documentary competition on environmental and social issues with her final work. She hoped that the movie could spread the word, through SIMA, to more people and organizations, especially NGOs in the US and around the world, to educate communities and raise public awareness. Thao had a bigger dream for her movie to not only stay as a documentary source for the conservation field but also become a strong message & inspiration for wildlife protection.

But eventually, she chose to send her film to local centers and organizations such as CHANGE and WildAid Vietnam, instead of SIMA. This did not mean her work was not impressive enough to submit in the competition, but indeed she realized that delivering the message in Vietnam was much more crucial, because the major consumption of bushmeat came from Asian countries, including Vietnam. Raising awareness for Vietnamese people about wildlife protection, according to Thao, should be put in top priority and needed more effort.

The message of the movie

“If the film is successful, viewers will understand the messages within.” Thao shared. Thao hoped that her realistic shots could give everyone a closer look at the rescue process in conservation centers of Cuc Phuong National Park from illegal trading, then how they were released back into the wild. To return home in the nature, these animals had to take a long way and suffer so much, some could not make it. Whenever there was human intervention (either unintentionally or on purpose by hunting and trading), it would take so much time, effort and cost to reestablish the animals’ natural state.

The film “Too much suffering before making it home” records daily routines of volunteers and conservationists in Cuc Phuong. With just over 14-minute time, the video can only illustrate a small piece of the big picture, what they are going through while trying their best every day to protect the diversity of many creatures found in Vietnam only. Through the video, we are able to understand a part of their work, appreciate more and get inspired by their expertise on the job. Therefore, we can give a helping hand to get rid of the illegal wildlife trade – one of the main causes of natural diversity loss.

Although we haven’t met Thao in person yet, CHANGE is very delighted to have companions like Thao to support and join us on the journey of wildlife conservation and diversity protection. We wish Thao all success on her chosen path, as every contribution from nature and wildlife lovers matters and deserves all appreciation.

About the author 

Thao Nguyen, currently a PR freelancer in Hanoi. She is contributing all of her work to make a true impact on environmental and social issues. Besides, she often shares positive content on her personal page as well.

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