Wildlife changes a life

By Anthony Vela

Stephanie Meyer is a Biology major and has always wanted to be a veterinarian, and a recent trip to a Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa just confirmed her future path.

Stephanie Meyer"Going to South Africa has strengthened my desire to become a veterinarian and work with animals for the rest of my life. The trip opened my eyes to the many opportunities for vets."

Meyer said that she was thinking about what projects she could do during her remaining time at Molloy before she applies to graduate school, and after doing some research decided to join the Wildlife Sanctuary project in South Africa.

"I spent two weeks on the reserve and half of the time challenging myself physically, and the other half was having hands-on time with exotic animals," said Meyer. "I was improving the reserve with my team by making concrete, building new roads and enclosures, weeding poisonous (if ingested) plants, and maintaining the cleanliness and overall animal well-being."

Her participation in the program changed he life forever.

"There are free-roaming giraffes, wildebeests, blesboks, zebras, and hippos on the reserve. Walking out of my dormitory in the morning and seeing a zebra right next to me was very different from waking up on Long Island and only seeing snow outside," she continued. "I spent as much time as I wanted with three 6-month old female lion cubs in their enclosure, and went on walks with them in the mid afternoon (they were free roaming in a safe area on the reserve). They act exactly like kittens, but their paws are almost the size of my head.  One of the adult lions had three cubs a month prior to my arrival, and I was lucky to have been able to interact with them. That was one of my favorite parts of the trip. I was also up close and personal with three elephants and a cheetah named Bailey."

Myers spoke about how important interactions with the animals on the reserve were.

Stephanie Meyer"All of my interactions with the animals on the reserve are important because a majority of them are unable to be re-released in the wild due to injuries and their reliance on humans after they were rescued.  If anything were to happen to these animals such as illness or additional injuries, it is important that they get quick medical attention from the staff on the sanctuary."

She went on to thank her professors here at Molloy.

"I would like to thank Dr. Evans, Dr. Monaco, and especially Dr. Sanz; they have been nothing but supportive and helpful since I came to Molloy. They are helping me achieve my dream. Without them, I probably would not have come so far academically or personally."