Spending time in multiple countries, studying Zoology and working with a range of species during her placement year has inspired Abby Chalkly to step up her animal advocacy and pursue a career in environmental law.
Abby, 21, whose life before university spanned a series of countries including, Kenya, Latvia and Sri-Lanka, is seeking to add a legal qualification to her Harper Adams degree – and use it to protect wildlife.
“Whilst living in East Africa I encountered a lot of different birds and insects on a day-to-day basis and the local wildlife rescue centre had Vervet Monkeys which they were preparing to re-release.”
The third year Harper Adams student, who has recently finished her placement at the renowned Jersey Zoo, said: “Being a part of change always appealed to me and that has always been my biggest motivation.”
“There is not one particular animal I want to help, as I want to help them all, but I really want to be able to help communities coexist with wildlife in a manner that is both safe and beneficial.”
Abby admits she was nervous when she secured her placement role at the zoo, because she was unsure about working with birds. But as it turns out, the flamingos have become her favourite species to work with.
“They had their own personalities and were very affectionate and helping the keepers catch and move the birds to different enclosures was my favourite experience.”
Every keeper at the zoo had completed their student placement there – that fact surprised Abby, but she isn’t planning to follow in their footsteps, as she is now determined to undertake a law conversion course and pursue a career in environmental law in order to secure animal species and habitats for generations to come.
But she isn’t leaving her feathered friends behind quite yet – for her final year Honours Research project, Abby plans to explore the fertility of Pink Pigeons and the survivability or hatchability of their eggs.
Speaking about her degree course Abby says that “I really enjoyed studying Zoology at Harper because we cover such a wide array of topics....and being able to understand their importance in the greater scheme of things helped make that learning experience more enjoyable.”
Abby also explained that she was incredibly happy with the experiences she has had with Harper Adams, proving her own instincts right: “When I was confirming my choices, I just had this feeling come over me and I decided to put Harper first, it was a spur of the moment choice, and I don’t regret it! …I have been able to surround myself with some incredible people who will definitely be in my life for many years to come”.
Abby’s top tip for future students considering their university options is to “visit the universities and the local area before you apply so you know what it is like.”
Students seeking to start at Harper Adams in 2021 can click here to book a campus tour.