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Nicole Byrne

posted: 05/15/12
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Nicole Byrne
DCI

Name: Nicole Byrne

Years volunteering: Three

The scope of my volunteer work: I assist Wildlife Warriors through fundraising, promotion and volunteering. In 2004, I assisted with the AZWWW project to provide aid to Sumatra after the tsunami. In 2005, I traveled to Cambodia and assisted Flora and Fauna International (FFI) with their Elephant Conservation Project, and also worked with WildAid and Free the Bears at their Cambodian Wildlife Rescue Center.

My first (or favorite) pet was: A white Labrador named Frosty, but my favorite pets are my two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes named Kaiza and Koda Maree.

The animal I am most like is: An Asian black bear because they love to cuddle and claw! They are also very endangered and need all the help they can get. Unfortunately, they are poached from the wild for the illegal wildlife trade. Terrible atrocities happen to these little bears, which include being sold to restaurants as additions to their menus or their body parts (paws, bile, sexual organs) being cut off and sold for medicinal purposes.

The animal I would take to:

- The Oscars: If I had the opportunity to go to the Oscars, I would take a baby crocodile, to promote how wonderful these

- Meet my parents: I just know that my parents would love to meet an Asian elephant. With the number of Asian elephants declining in the wild, I think that everyone should take the opportunity to meet an elephant while there are still some left in the wild. It is amazing to think that they have over 150,000 muscles in their trunks alone, and you know that they will always remember you!

- On a trip around the world: I would take a Sumatran tiger cub. As there are less than 400 Sumatran tigers in the world, I would take the plight of the tigers to the world.

My greatest inspiration:

Steve, Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin are my greatest inspiration. I love to watch and listen to their stories of travel and saving wildlife. The Irwins really are true Wildlife Warriors! I also greatly admire other Wildlife Warriors like Giles and Dr. Jon Hangar who traveled to Sumatra after the tsunami to offer support for both humanitarian and veterinarian aid. I was very proud to be a part of this project, also with Wildlife Warriors.

The most rewarding aspect of volunteering:

Knowing that what you are doing is real, and it is making a difference.

The most challenging:

Volunteering in remote countries can bring many risks. Perhaps the most challenging is overcoming your own fear of making the first step toward

The moment I knew it was all worth it:

When I met a man in a remote village of Cambodia who was once a guide for illegal wildlife poachers. He used to take people into the jungle to hunt and kill elephants and tigers for their body parts. After education from the FFI program, which is funded by AZWWW, the village elder is now working as an elephant conservation ranger. He works with other local villagers to educate surrounding communities on the importance of conserving Cambodia's precious wildlife. Cambodia has experienced 20 or so years of civil unrest. The importance of offering assistance and education to their people is imperative. Most importantly, they are eager to learn what to do right, and they understand the importance of humanitarian support as well as care for wildlife.

In a perfect world:

There would be no harm to animals.

In my world:

I understand that you have to act on your beliefs to achieve a greater good. It's not hard to make a difference to the world. Sometimes, it's just little things that a person can do that makes it all worthwhile.

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