A tiny animal known to thrive throughout Africa and Asia, pangolins are as fascinating as they are bizarre. Covered in scales from head to toe, the pangolin feeds on ants and termites which it catches through a prolonged tongue, eating nothing else from the environment. Due to their unusual bodies and beautiful scales, the pangolin has become one of the most trafficked mammals on the planet. Already critically endangered, pangolin smugglers often ship the animal’s scales into China for profit on the black market and use through traditional Asian medicine.
Setting his sights on helping such a critically endangered species, Thai Van Nguyen would score international honors from the Goldman Environmental Prize, a grassroots award offered to environmental activists from all over the world.
Earning the Goldman Environmental Prize
Established in 1989, the Goldman Environmental Frize was founded by Rhoda and Richard Goldman in the city of San Francisco. For more than 32 years, the Prize has been offered to grassroots activists working day and night to benefit and protect the planet. Environmental activists from every inhabited continental region in the world compete for the top honors, with more than 206 winners spread across 92 nations at the time of this writing.
Susie Gelman is the V.P. at the Goldman Environmental Foundation and it was through a press release that she honored past recipients of the prize. Focusing on the importance of the work they are advocating for Gelman stated, “The global community of leaders, thinkers, and philanthropists is only growing and becoming more sophisticated, united, and powerful.”
Gelman went on to describe how each prize winner has played an immeasurable role in helping the planet move forward, focusing on the “balance with nature” that Gelman believes is the key to survival.
Meet Thai Van Nguyen; International Eco-Activist
With a workmanlike dedication to fighting the good fight, Thai Van Nguyen has been working in pangolin conservation since 2015. The founder of Vietnam Wildlife, Thai, and his team have personally accounted for the rescue of at least 1,540+ pangolins since their work began.
In addition to saving many at-risk pangolins from international trade, Thai was integral to establishing Vietnam’s first-ever anti-poaching unit. This anti-poaching unit has helped to significantly address illegal activities that were prevalent throughout Pu Mat National Park. Thai’s efforts helped to lead his anti-poaching unit to destroy over 9,700 animal traps, 775 illegal camps, and 78 guns. The anti-poaching unit that was established would also help lead to the arrest of 558 poachers in 7 years.
Before he was an international icon and environmental hero, Thai Van Nguyen was just another child growing up near Cuc Phuong National Park. It was there that Thai saw a baby pangolin and its mother trapped and killed by poachers. Since then, his efforts have been entirely focused on putting an end to the practice. To accomplish this task, Nguyen decided to embark upon a multi-pronged campaign to educate the public of Vietnam while stressing the importance of conserving the pangolin population.
Nguyen would begin conservation efforts by deploying an education campaign, discussing how to rescue and treat pangolins while also contributing to peer-reviewed journals and international workshops. Eventually, Nguyen would help engineer the opening of the Carnivore and Pangolin Education Center, a true first-of-its-kind establishment in the region. Through the non-profit, Nguyen has helped to educate guards, rangers, students, locals, and customs officials on how to properly care for pangolins.
Despite Nguyen’s heroic efforts, the past decade has seen more than 1 million pangolins poached worldwide, with Vietnam a particularly notable hotbed for the activities.
Bravery Beyond His Years: 12-Year-Old Austen MacMillian Saves Drowning Man with CPR Skills from “Stranger Things”
In a heart-pounding moment of bravery and quick thinking, 12-year-old Austen MacMillian from Florida became a real-life hero when he saved a drowning man’s life, thanks to skills he learned from an unexpected source – the TV show “Stranger Things.”
One sunny day, Austen was enjoying a swim in a pool with his behavioral therapist, Jason Piquette. Little did they know that this day would take a dramatic turn. Piquette, attempting to see how long he could hold his breath underwater, found himself submerged for what seemed like an eternity, nearly five to six minutes. Austen’s instincts kicked in as he realized something was terribly wrong.
“It was like five to six minutes he was under the water, and I was like, ‘That’s way too long. He cannot do that,'” Austen recounted.
Panic set in as Austen observed his therapist’s prolonged submersion. “I think I passed out in about 30 seconds, and I don’t know why,” Piquette added, describing his desperate situation.
But young Austen wouldn’t let fear paralyze him. He had seen something on the television show “Stranger Things” that would prove to be a lifesaver. Without hesitation, Austen swam to Piquette’s aid, pulling him to the safety of the shallow end of the pool. He then dashed out of the water to call for urgent help.
Surveillance footage of the incident captured the young hero’s actions – a reminder of his courage and quick response. After calling for help, Austen returned to Piquette’s side and performed CPR, a life-saving technique he had picked up from the TV show.
“I just saw it from a TV show – ‘Stranger Things,’” Austen explained. “After I gave him CPR, he woke up a few minutes later.”
Piquette regained consciousness, and the situation started to stabilize just as Austen’s father arrived home and called 911. Austen’s mom, Christina MacMillan, couldn’t be prouder of her son’s actions during this life-or-death moment.
“When I first got the call from my husband, I almost felt like I couldn’t speak. My whole body, like, locked up,” Christina MacMillan shared. “It was definitely a really proud mom moment. He’s really brave and courageous,” she said. “I’m just so, like, amazed at how strong he was and how wise he was in that moment. And I always want him to know that he is a hero.”
A 5-Year-Old’s Big Impact on Maui Fire Victims
In a heartwarming display of compassion and generosity, a 5-year-old’s lemonade stand in Seattle has turned into a powerful force of support for the victims of the devastating wildfires that ravaged Maui. Edison Juel, known as Eddie, became a shining example of kindness as his simple lemonade stand raised over $17,000 to aid those affected by the tragedy.
The story began when young Eddie was on a family trip to Hawaii and learned about the wildfires that were wreaking havoc on Maui. “It was Wednesday afternoon, we had the news on, and he asked me to turn it off because he said that made him too sad,” Eddie’s mother, Ami Juel, recounted. “At that point, I realized he really was paying attention and listening, that we needed to actually address it. I hadn’t really intended to tell him about it necessarily.”
Moved by Eddie’s empathy and determination, his parents decided to help him channel his concern into action. Eddie came up with the idea of setting up a lemonade stand, inspired by a similar venture he had seen during a previous trip to Colorado. The goal was simple yet profound: to raise funds to aid the victims of the Maui wildfires.
Eddie’s parents, Ami and her husband, immediately rallied behind his noble idea. On a bustling Seattle street, they set up the lemonade stand, ready to turn a young boy’s goodwill into a force for positive change. The stand was open from 10 am to 6 pm, and it offered a variety of items beyond lemonade – from pink and yellow lemonades to sparkling water, popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, candy, and toys.
The response from the community was nothing short of remarkable. Lemonades were priced at just one dollar each, but many patrons generously gave $5, $10, or $20 bills as part of their donations. The outpouring of support was overwhelming, and the lemonade stand’s earnings quickly soared.
What made this initiative even more impactful was the family’s decision to amplify the impact. The profits from the stand itself, along with donations received, were augmented by the generous matching contributions from Eddie’s parents’ companies. The financial support escalated with a 3:1 and 1:1 matching, ultimately culminating in a staggering total of $17,000.
Ami Juel expressed her awe at the astounding response, saying, “I don’t think he understands that this is just like not a normal response. I had a lemonade stand as a kid. I remember waving and smiling for a long time hoping to get a car every now and then. But it was like, there’s periods where it was just every car stopped.”
Beyond the monetary impact, Eddie’s lemonade stand carried a message of unity and compassion. “Struck by how his generosity invited others to be generous,” Ami shared. “It was not something we could have orchestrated for him, so it was nice to see that was an idea he has.”
Eddie’s lemonade stand became a shining example of how a simple act of kindness, fueled by the pure intentions of a young heart, can create a ripple effect of goodness. In a world often filled with challenges, Eddie’s story serves as a beacon of hope, reminding us that even the smallest actions can make a monumental difference in the lives of those in need.
Kansas City Woman Finds Relief from Summer Heat with Kind Samaritan’s Help
Living through scorching summer heat without air conditioning can be really tough, especially for senior citizens like Peggy Moore from Kansas City. Peggy’s struggle to beat the heat became a hot topic on FOX4’s Problem Solvers segment. The story highlighted how Peggy had been enduring months of sweltering temperatures due to a broken air conditioner. But the good news is, a kind-hearted man named Harry Frame stepped up to the plate and offered his helping hand.
Peggy’s story caught the attention of many, including Mr. Frame, after it was featured on FOX4 Problem Solvers. Peggy had been patiently waiting for her air conditioning to be fixed for months, and she was feeling the heat both outside and inside her home. The summer days were getting hotter, and the indoor temperature was reaching uncomfortable levels.
In her time of need, Harry Frame saw the segment and felt compelled to help Peggy out. He decided to fix her air conditioning for free, ensuring that she would no longer have to endure the scorching heat in her own home. This act of kindness came as a ray of hope for Peggy, who had previously faced a frustrating situation.
You see, Peggy had originally paid a significant amount of money – a whopping $5,000 – to a man named Gregg Fowler to fix her air conditioning. However, despite the payment, the work was not completed to her satisfaction. Even though Mr. Fowler claimed to have finished the job, the temperature in Peggy’s home remained a sweltering 89 degrees.
But Harry Frame was about to change all that. He reached out to FOX4 Problem Solvers and offered to fix Peggy’s air conditioning, and he did so without asking for any payment. Peggy expressed her gratitude for the outpouring of care and support that she received, especially when she felt like she was out of options.
“I’m thankful that so many people cared and came to my rescue because I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Peggy shared. She highlighted the importance of small acts of kindness, especially in a world where problems can sometimes feel overwhelming.
Harry Frame, from Service 1st Contractors, expressed his thoughts on the matter as well. “There is a lot of problems in the world these days so anybody can – that can reach out and just do a little good for somebody it needs to happen more often,” he said. His words echo the sentiment that a little bit of kindness can go a long way in making a positive impact.
After inspecting Peggy’s air conditioning unit, Harry Frame realized that it was too small for her home. As a solution, he decided to replace the old unit with a brand new one. This generous act ensured that Peggy could finally enjoy a comfortable and cool environment within her own home.
With her new air conditioning unit, Peggy can now relax in her home without worrying about the stifling heat. She won’t have to worry about being too hot to clean or carry out her daily activities. Peggy’s story is a heartwarming example of how the kindness of strangers can make a real difference in someone’s life, bringing relief and comfort during challenging times.
Rediscovery of the Australian Earless Dragon: A Tiny Lizard’s Astonishing Return
In a remarkable turn of events, the Australian earless dragon, a small and elusive lizard species, has resurfaced after being presumed extinct for over 50 years. This tiny dragon was last seen in the Geelong area of Australia way back in 1969. Since then, its population has drastically declined, leading experts to believe that it had vanished forever. However, recent sightings have given hope to conservationists and prompted efforts to protect and preserve this remarkable creature.
The Australian earless dragon (Tympanocryptis pinguicolla) is a unique lizard native to Australia. As its name suggests, it lacks external ears, distinguishing it from other dragon species. Measuring only a few inches in length, this small reptile possesses distinct features that help it survive in its grassland habitat.
The decline in the population of the Australian earless dragon can be attributed to several factors. Habitat destruction caused by human activities, such as land clearing and urbanization, has significantly reduced the available areas for the lizard to thrive. Loss of suitable grassland habitats and fragmentation of its natural environment has made it challenging for the species to sustain its population.
Additionally, the introduction of invasive species like cats and foxes has had a detrimental impact on the dragon’s survival. These predators not only compete for resources but also pose a direct threat to the small lizards, leading to a decline in their numbers over time.
The recent sighting of the Australian earless dragon has reignited hope for its survival. To protect this critically endangered lizard and aid preservation efforts, the location of its sighting has been kept secret. This measure aims to prevent any disturbance to the lizard’s habitat and ensure the safety of the species.
Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the Victorian and federal governments have committed to investing $188,000 in a trial of detection dogs. These specially trained canines will assist in locating additional populations of the dragon. This approach is considered both effective and non-invasive, providing an efficient means to find this elusive and critically endangered lizard in the wild.
Tanya Plibersek, the federal environment minister, expressed her enthusiasm, stating, “I want to protect our precious creatures for our kids and grandkids. It’s such exciting news that the Victorian grassland earless dragon has been rediscovered.” Plibersek emphasized the importance of investing in habitat restoration and the eradication of feral species like cats and foxes to ensure the survival of endangered species like the Australian earless dragon.
Dr. Jenny Gray, Zoos Victoria’s chief executive, shared her optimism, saying, “The extraordinary rediscovery of this critically endangered and cryptic lizard inspires optimism for the recovery of this Victorian species.” Zoos Victoria, with its years of expertise gained through successful breeding recovery programs, will play a significant role in the conservation efforts for the Australian earless dragon.
The rediscovery of the Australian earless dragon has sparked renewed hope for the survival and recovery of this unique lizard species. Through collaborative efforts between the government, conservation organizations, and the public, steps are being taken to protect the dragon’s habitat and eradicate threats posed by invasive predators.
Fearless Aussies Brave Crocodile-Infested Waters for a Worthy Cause
Prepare to be amazed by the courage and determination of two Aussie mates as they embark on a daring canoeing expedition through treacherous waters teeming with crocodiles. Meet Paul Taylor, a 58-year-old Brisbane police officer, and his trusty canoe buddy, Matt Collier, a 49-year-old plumber. These brave souls have spent the last three years meticulously planning and preparing for a remarkable journey that will span 350 kilometers along the coastline. Their mission? To raise funds and support disadvantaged children through the non-profit organization Eagles Wings.
The waters they will traverse are not for the faint of heart. Known to be infested with crocodiles, sharks, and jellyfish, these Aussie adventurers face countless dangers as they paddle forward. Undeterred, they equip themselves with a sturdy two-man canoe and carry supplies to sustain them for a challenging 12-day journey. Their provisions include food, water, and other essential items necessary for survival in the wild.
The true motivation behind their audacious expedition lies in their desire to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children. By taking on this arduous feat, Paul and Matt aim to raise an admirable $50,000 for Eagles Wings. This non-profit organization is dedicated to providing education and support to vulnerable children in Zambia, a country plagued by poverty and limited opportunities.
Each night along their daring journey, the intrepid canoers set up camp, taking refuge in the wilderness. It’s during these moments of rest that they document their experiences and share updates on their Facebook page. Through their online presence, they aim to inspire others and generate support for their cause.
Paul Taylor recalls the challenges they face in their daily routine, saying, “We then settled into the routine of putting up soaking wet tents from the previous night’s dew, charging up GPS units and phones, and checking the main battery for the bilge pump.” Despite the hardships, they find solace in the kindness of strangers they encounter along the way. Generous individuals like Trish, who described them as “those idiots paddling to Cairns,” have not only donated but also assisted them by charging one of their larger batteries.
In a recent interview on Triple M’s Pricey for Breakfast, Paul Taylor shared the inspiration behind their extraordinary adventure. It all began when his wife traveled to Africa in 2007 and witnessed firsthand the incredible work done by Eagles Wings in supporting underprivileged children to attend school and secure future employment. Motivated by this experience, Paul and Matt knew they had to make a difference.
While the journey poses physical challenges, Matt Collier emphasizes that it’s precisely these difficulties that drive them forward. He recognizes the daily struggles faced by the children in Zambia, who often lack proper care and guidance, living on the streets 24/7. By pushing their own limits, they hope to shed light on the hardships these children endure and encourage others to support their cause.
So, let us applaud the remarkable courage and selflessness of Paul Taylor and Matt Collier. Their daring expedition through crocodile-infested waters serves as a reminder that ordinary individuals can accomplish extraordinary feats when they have a noble cause in their hearts. As they paddle onward, we cheer them on, hoping that their efforts will inspire others to contribute and uplift the lives of disadvantaged children in Zambia.
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