Wildlife conservation graduate inspires next generation of students



International wildlife conservation scientist returns to LJMU 13 years after graduating

Trang Nguyen, wildlife conservation scientist, environmental activist and founder of the NGO WildAct, in Vietnam, returned to Liverpool and LJMU campus this week to share her knowledge as a leader in the field of wildlife conservation. 

Trang, who is originally from Vietnam, studied as an international student at LJMU in 2011, when she completed her Bachelors degree. She then went on to study two masters degrees, including a MPhil in Conservation Leadership at the University of Cambridge, and complete her PhD. Trang was also recently named the winner of the 2023 British Council Study UK Alumni Award for Science and Sustainability. 

Inspiring the next generation

As part of Trang’s visit, she met with 16 students and staff from LJMU’s Wildlife Conservation programme at a visit to nearby Chester Zoo, whom LJMU regularly work with, using expertise and research to support their conservation efforts, including using AI and drone technology, as well as offering opportunities for student collaboration throughout their studies. 

Trang then presented to students and staff, her work as the leader of the non-profit organisation, WildAct, whose vision is to conserve threatened species and ecosystems in Vietnam by inspiring, motivating, and empowering individuals and society to engage in science-based conservation practices. Simon Dowell, current Science Director at Chester Zoo and Jennifer Jones, who both taught Trang, also got the chance to catch up and reminisce on Trang's time at LJMU which she describes as “one of the most meaningful experiences which inspired her career.” 


During her visit to Liverpool, Trang also got to return to LJMU’s city campus, where she began her studies 16 years ago. She met with Biological and Environmental Sciences Professor Serge Wich, who discussed the use of LJMU’s thermal drones and wildlife conservation research that the university and its academic are currently working on, including research into spider monkeys in Mexico, crocodiles in Nepal and identifying different tree species in Tanzania.  

Trang also met with LJMU’s Dr Carl Chalmers and Professor Paul Fergus to discuss the conservation AI technology used at LJMU to allow real time camera detection of animals across the globe. The cameras which are currently being used for research in South Africa are near indestructible and have so far survived a lion’s bite and only fallen victim to being crushed by an elephant.  

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Faculty of Science, Professor Laura Bishop, said:

“It was great to welcome Trang back to campus 13 years after she graduated from LJMU. Hearing first-hand what she has gone on to achieve in her courageous work tackling illegal wildlife traffickers, encouraging a safer working environment in conservation for women in Vietnam, and setting up her own NGO has made her visit truly inspirational for university staff and students.

“It was also a great opportunity for our academics and students to share with Trang the research and technology that put LJMU at the forefront of wildlife conservation.” 

UK Alumni Award Winner 

Trang was named the winner of the 2023 British Council Study UK Alumni Award for Science and Sustainability, and also selected as a Global Finalist. As part of winning the award, the British Council led her visit to the UK as a chance to re-connect with the universities that began her career.
The Study UK Alumni Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of alumni and showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education. Award winners and finalists are leaders in their fields who have used their experience of studying at a UK university to make a positive contribution to their communities, professions, and countries. 

Find out more about Wildlife Conservation at LJMU 

Find out more about Wildlife Conservation at LJMU or studying an undergraduate wildlife conservation degree or MSc Wildlife Conservation postgraduate degree. 



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