Treeswift Wildlife: Hi Noel and welcome to Treeswift Wildlife & Nature. We’re thrilled and excited to be speaking with you today all about your project DOUC IN DANGER. But before we get into all of that, can you first tell us all about yourself? Who are you, where are you from, and all that!
Noel Campana: I am Noel and I am 31 years old. I was born and I am living close to the Cologne area in the middle of Germany. I love travelling and being outdoors. Exploring new cultures and seeing animals in wild is one of my greatest passions. I love playing sports while being in the nature, like hiking and climbing but also being on the water, surfing the waves…
Treeswift Wildlife: Do you have any special connection to wildlife? Are you a birder, mammal watcher, herper? A serious lister? Or do you have a bit more of casual relationship to nature?
Noel Campana: Animals have always interested me very much. But I have to admit that before I came up with the idea of DOUC IN DANGER, I didn’t realize how many animals are threatened with extinction. This was really alarming to me and so I wanted to do something to help.
Treeswift Wildlife: Have you ever been on any special trips anywhere for nature watching?
Noel Campana: During one trip I was surrounded by monkeys in the jungle. That was wonderful and funny because the monkeys tried to steal all my stuff. Another place that enormously impressed me were wild Przewalski’s Horses and nature of Mongolia. The unbelievable friendliness and generosity of the people over there and how they treated and respected the animals. Another very special experience was on Fiji when I had the opportunity to dive close to Bull Sharks in the wild. That was amazing and I felt enormously grateful to see those beautiful animals so close. Also underwater, this time in Indonesia, I was impressed by 20 Manta Rays that were diving with me. That’s an experience I will never forget.
Treeswift Wildlife: Does wildlife have anything to do with your profession?
Noel Campana: I am engineer by trade and studied Aerospace Engineering. But I am not a typical Engineer, I like to be creative and DOUC IN DANGER is the project of my heart.
Treeswift Wildlife: Alrighty! Let’s jump right into it – DOUC IN DANGER. Tell us all about it! What is it and how did it come about?
Noel Campana: DOUC IN DANGER is a card game that tells the story about the Red-shanked Douc (a critically endangered primate from southeast Asia). In the game players learn about their habitat and environment and about the dangers the DOUC’s are facing. It all started in 2016 with a train ride from Europe to Asia.
Treeswift Wildlife: What happened on that train ride?
Noel Campana: Preparing for my journey where I was riding on the train 6000 miles from Europe to Asia with people who do not speak my language, I learnt a card game that these people very often play. I was able to connect with the people on the train without speaking their language just by paying cards with them. This was amazing and my dream was born to create an own card game.
Treeswift Wildlife: How did the game come to be? Did you design and make it? And is this a team project or something you’re working on by yourself?
Noel Campana: I sketched the first ideas for the card game on a plane ticket a few years ago and since then, have been continuously working on the further development. DOUC is the main character and the artworks are based on the real Red-shanked Douc. The idea was mine, but it is now a family and friends project. A lot of great people are helping me to make this project a reality.
Treeswift Wildlife: Can you tell us a little about Red-shanked Doucs, and just why they need our protection?
Noel Campana: The Red-shanked Douc are one of the most beautiful primates in the world. They live in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Unfortunately they are threaten with extinction. The species is believed to have undergone a decline of more than 50% in the last three generations due to forest loss and continued hunting. There are only few thousand individuals left on our planet.
Treeswift Wildlife: As you know, Treeswift Wildife & Nature operates in Vietnam – so what can the average Vietnamese citizen do to help protect his almost endemic species of Old World Primate?
Noel Campana: With the card game, we want to raise awareness to as many people as possible. There are 40,000 species endangered on our planet, and raising awareness in the areas where these monkeys live is essential for their survival. Hunting needs to be stopped. To do that there are projects in Vietnam to educate locals (especially children), helping to raise awareness and respect for nature and wildlife. Also the training of local rangers is important, there are successful examples of projects already out there and efforts need to be continued.
Treeswift Wildlife: What projections and hopes do you have for DOUC IN DANGER in the long term? Sales in shops? Available online or internationally? A sequel and/or more merchandise to support critically endangered wildlife?
Noel Campana: We will launch the card game in October this year on Kickstarter, hoping to get many international followers and supporters to this project. In 2023 we will definitely start to selling it online and in selected shops, bookstores etc. I just hope that we can reach many people in different countries and draw attention to such an important topic.
Treeswift Wildlife: Where can people follow and support Douc in Danger? Do you have a blog, Instagram, website, online shop, etc?
Noel Campana: I am online on Facebook, Instagram and I have my website www.doucindanger.com. I am happy for every follower. People can already sign up on our website and we will inform them when we start our campaign on the crowdfunding platform. We will ship the game worldwide.
Treeswift Wildlife: So what’s next for Douc in Danger?
Noel Campana: Currently I am on the trail of the DOUCs in Vietnam. I am meeting people who are supporting the DOUCs. I am learning about their projects and how we could help with the card game in case we will be successful with our launch. We will donate part of our earnings. It is amazing to see the work of experienced experts but also young and engaged people in NGOs who are ambitious and restless to change the situation to help endangered animals to survive. It is great to see that most of these people are locals. After my journey to Vietnam, my family, friends, and I will try to engage as many followers as we can to make our crowdfunding campaign a success.
Treeswift Wildlife: Bonus question: if you could see any species of animal tomorrow, anywhere in the world, what would it be and why?
Noel Campana: The Humpback Whale in Tonga!
Treeswift Wildlife: Thanks so much for chatting with us today Noel, we wish you and the team (and the Red-shanked Douc) all the best with this fantastic new game – I can’t wait to get a copy and start playing!
Follow @Doucindanger on Facebook!
All images provided by Noel Campana