For those who know me in real life, you must have known how passionate I am about wildlife. When I was in university I could not decide whether to choose wildlife or small animal for my future career. I love them both. I love dogs and cats, but I also care about wildlife. In the end I decided to work with wildlife because a lot of people care about dogs and cats, but not many people care about wildlife, leave alone taking risks being attacked when treating them. That became my motivation working with wildlife: if not me, who will care for them?
After graduated from vet medicine I did not immediately apply for a job. Unlike my friends who applied at vaccine factories, drug companies, cattle farms, poultry farms, and animal hospitals even before graduation, I did not even make one single CV or cover letter after graduation. Why? The main reason was because I only wanted to apply for a job that I would like. I wanted to apply only in the field that I’m passionate with, i.e wildlife.
During my first year in my first job I felt very proud for having successfully bred a critically endangered species. I felt life was so meaningful, dedicated to a good rescue center with a very high animal welfare standard. Too bad, I had to leave the place because another place was calling me. It was a hard decision for me to leave the place, but the animals there were happy and healthy. Since the rescue center was featured in one of Attenborough’s Ark episodes, funding was coming in from new donors. Leaving the place might not be a big problem, so now it’s time for me to help other animals. Moreover, it was the same question again “if I do not go to help the next rescue center, who will?”
So I moved to a remote and poor country, only to improve one place with over 700 animals. This is when the REAL challenge begins: changing a zoo into a wildlife rescue center, changing the owners’ mindset from ‘getting profit’ into ‘running a non profit rescue center’. Their income was greatly reduced because we stopped elephant ride and stopped selling food for animal feeding. I felt happy at first to see the animals do not have to work anymore to please human ego, but it did not last very long. As their income dropped, so does the amount of food for the animals. Soon, I see animals dying, not because they are sick, but because they do not get enough food. When an animal is sick I will do my best to safe their lives, but in this case, their condition is beyond my control. It has been nearly 2 years now. Often I wake up in the middle of the night and ask myself, what am I doing here? Am I helping the animals, or am I actually useless and only watching the animals suffer? How long more do I have to struggle with this condition? Should I fight for the animals even though without result, or should I leave this place and help other places? I’m in a dilemma.