‘An­i­mal geek’ sav­ing the ele­phants

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By SARAH AR­GYLE

A self-pro­claimed ‘‘an­i­mal geek’’ is about to em­bark on a jour­ney to help en­dan­gered ele­phants in Thai­land.

Sa­man­tha Bos­ton, 25, has loved an­i­mals for as long as she can re­mem­ber.

So much so that she is lit­er­ally ded­i­cat­ing her life to help­ing the crea­tures that ‘‘can’t help them­selves’’.

Miss Bos­ton worked as a zookeeper at Auck­land Zoo while study­ing to­wards her ve­teri­nary nurse de­gree.

When she com­pleted her stud­ies she did a vol­un­tary in­tern­ship at a Wolf Sanc­tu­ary in Ore­gon, United States.

‘‘I fed and cleaned the 10 arc­tic wolves and pro­vided them with en­rich­ment to keep them busy. Some of them hated peo­ple be­cause they were from il­le­gal pet trade back­grounds or had been abused.’’

At the wolf sanc­tu­ary Miss Bos­ton helped run tours, ed­u­cate tourists and teach them that wolves are not crea­tures to be feared.

Her next ad­ven­ture be­gins in May when she will travel to Thai­land to vol­un­teer at an elephant sanc­tu­ary.

She says there are 200 ele- phants work­ing streets of Bangkok.

‘‘Half of the ele­phants – wild or not – go through an or­deal when they’re taken from their mums. It’s called ‘pha­jaan’ which lit­er­ally trans­lates to ‘crush’. It’s a week of tor­ture where their spir­its are crushed to teach them to obey hu­mans.’’

Miss Bos­ton says it feels good know­ing she’s do­ing some­thing to help an­i­mals.

Next year she heads to Bor­neo to work with orang­utans.

‘‘I have a blog set up and I would love peo­ple to fol­low what I’m do­ing. My work can some­times be quite iso­lated but know­ing peo­ple are read­ing my blog makes me feel less lonely.’’

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Photo: SARAH AR­GYLE

Huge help: An­i­mal lover Sa­man­tha Bos­ton, 25, is go­ing to work with en­dan­gered ele­phants.

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