An adventurous animal conservationist is putting the experience he gained studying in Newquay to great use working with elephants in Thailand.
GVI provides an elephant rehabilitation programme in the Chiang Mai Province where volunteers can work with elephants previously used in the tourism industry.
Volunteers assist with monitoring the elephants’ behaviour as they are reintegrated into the forests and work alongside traditional elephant keepers (mahouts) and other locals to establish alternative livelihoods.
As the community coordinator, Toby provides local people in remote regions with environmental education and works with the community to integrate previously captive elephants into a semi-wild environment.
For Toby, who has “been fascinated with the natural world from a young age”, it’s a dream come true.
Toby said: “My specific passion when it comes to animals, is rescue and rehabilitation. I want to be able to provide animals with the wants and needs they deserve to have, protecting them from exploitation. I want to be out in the field doing my part to ensure all animals I encounter have the best quality of life.”
Toby said that conservation starts with education, and through educating young people from all different walks of life, “we really can change how all species of animals are perceived and how they are used by humans”.
In the community of village Huay Pakoot, Toby is responsible for delivering English lessons to villagers, mahouts, and school children in the hopes they will pursue a career in conservation.
By designing curriculums for the primary school and evening classes, implementing progress tests, providing the village with environmental education, the hope is that the local community will one day be able to run the elephant rehabilitation hub themselves.
Toby said he is always looking for new ways to “interact and create a long-lasting working relationship with the village community.”
Toby is an example of a long line of students from Cornwall College Newquay who have progressed into zoology and conservation related careers upon completion of their studies.
“I feel that without the support from the staff at Cornwall College Newquay, I would not have received such high-quality education and training related to animal welfare. My time at the college really developed and influenced my career path and the amount of information the college provides on future prospects for their students is amazing.”
Toby’s advice is for learners to make the most of all the experiences the college provides.
“Take advantage of being able to freely talk to the lecturers, this is a privilege you will not find at other campuses offering university degrees,” he added.
For more information on the range of Wildlife Education, Animal Behaviour & Management and Zoological, Marine & Ecological Conservation courses available at Cornwall College Newquay visit HERE or book a place on our next Univeristy Taster Day on Saturday 16th May HERE