This personal statement was part of this student’s successful application to the University of Exeter, University of Bristol, University of St Andrew’s, Lancaster University and University of Sheffield for Zoology.
The biology of animals has especially fascinated me, with their unique adaptations which allow them to flourish in their environment. I believe that learning about the biology and behaviour of animals will allow us to attain a better understanding of their needs, providing a more sustainable relationship between us and their environment. Through learning more about animals, I will be able to pursue my passion for animals and their conservation.
The efforts to conserve and explore the animal world have become more demanding than ever before because of the rapid encroachment of humans. We need to find solutions for humans and wildlife to co-exist with minimal conflict. My work experience with the Gibbon Protection Society of Malaysia has given me valuable insight into this challenge. All the gibbons in the center were rescued victims of the illegal pet trade with no experience of living in the wild. Learning how entire families are killed before one baby is caught and sold in the illegal pet trade has made me feel angry and sad. Witnessing the dedication of the conservationists who have persevered to rehabilitate and release baby and adult gibbons despite threats from poachers has strengthened my resolve to study and work in this field. With our limited knowledge about gibbon biology and society, rehabilitation efforts of conservationists have been hindered. The government has planned a new highway with viaducts which will bisect the planned release area for the gibbons to allow wildlife movement and migration. This is of no use to gibbons as they are almost purely arboreal and rarely come to the ground, preventing migration and further interaction between family groups, leading to inbreeding, and possibly extinction. People’s unfamiliarity with gibbons reinforces my drive to change the desperate fate of a species that we often neglect.
Last summer I volunteered at the Turtle Information Centre in Melaka which has an ongoing conservation project with the WWF. I had the opportunity to follow a ranger to observe both green and Hawksbill turtle landings and nesting. I learned that the major threats to turtles there are poaching and pollution. This experience made me realise how important it is to educate the public, especially in rural communities, to protect these creatures from human threats.
Through reading National Geographic magazines, I have developed a love for animal anatomy and physiology. A recent photographic study on the unique energy-conserving flight techniques of hummingbirds was both beautiful and insightful. The Photo Ark project has deepened my interest for photography, motivating me to join the Your Shot photo community. This has spurred me to use this as a platform to help raise awareness about animal conservation and research. As the President of the Social Media Club, I have gained leadership and management skills while working with my team which has also aided my role as a senior prefect with responsibility to care for my juniors. This has allowed me to develop traits of empathy and understanding while caring for them in school. Also, through my love for running and music, I had the privilege to raise funds for cancer, hospice care and the Salvation Army.
I love writing, and I hope to use my writing skills in my work to promote a better understanding of animal behavior and conservation. I had the opportunity to present my experience at the Gibbon Protection Society to a professor and her students in University Malaya. The presentation was well-received by the listeners, giving me the confidence I need to express my passion for animals through writing. Working with conservationists and scientists in Malaysia has shown me how international sharing of information has been a great advantage for local conservation and research. Therefore, I believe that studying abroad will enable me to broaden my experience and give me a global outlook to pursue my ambition to better protect and understand animals.
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