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I’ve been a journalist for 15 years and covered everything from news and entertainment; to politics and sport. But the one area that’s always been of interest is natural history. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to have Sir David Attenborough’s job?!
In 2010, I took the leap of faith and decided to go back to university to re-train to become a Primatologist (the study of monkeys and apes). Why? There’s an undeniable connection you feel when you look into their eyes; it really is quite extraordinary. Many of these magnificent animals are threatened because of us. It saddens me to think that some species could become extinct in my life time. My trip to Uganda in July 2010, was life changing – the people I met and the areas I visited definitely influenced my decision to retrain when I returned. I qualified with a Masters in Primate Biology, Behaviour and Conservation in 2012.
Going back to study was tough, but also very rewarding and an incredible eye opener. It showed me how may issues are inextricably linked (in particular development and conservation). Help the local people and you’ll help to preserve the wildlife, they live side-by-side and can only flourish if they work in tandem. So many people in the UK have asked me: “Why should I care?” because everything you do has a direct impact on world – what we buy; what we grow; how we live, the list goes on. If we want to preserve the planet for future generations then we need to start acting responsibly, not selfishly.
I have just started to use my reporting/presenting skills in this area but my long-term goal is to reach a wider audience and try to be the bridge between the world of journalism and the academic one. I hope the next decade will give me an opportunity to make a difference in raising awareness about our wild kin’s plight and the countries they live in.