Walk on the wild side

THE sight of human blood makes her nauseous but Piggabeen teenager Sharna Blundell knows how to keep her cool when an animal is in need.

That is why the 15-year-old Pacific Coast Christian School student is planning a trip to South Africa next year to hone her veterinary skills and help animals back in the Tweed - and she is appealing to the community for $7000 in sponsorship to help get there.

The Vets-in-the-Wild program offers students the chance to get hands-on, in-depth and education experiences in the field of wildlife veterinary science. It is organised by South African based EcoLife Expeditions.

“There is a lot I can learn over there and I want to bring those skills back to the Tweed and help out animals here,” Sharna said.

“Getting over to Africa and learning the skills there is my way of getting into the animal care business.”

During her time overseas, the Year 11 student will interact with veterinarians in the wildlife field, take part in capture operations and meet some of South Africa's indigenous peoples and do basic care for dogs such as worming and vaccinations.

She is hoping to extend her trip by a week to work in an animal rehabilitation centre.

“I reckon it will be good to learn from hands-on experience and I've always wanted to do something with elephants,” she said.

Sharna is no stranger to animal care and already volunteers once a week at the RSPCA in Tweed Heads and studies Animal Care and Introduction at Murwillumbah TAFE as a school subject.

“I hope I can be an inspiration to other kids that you don't have to go university to get your dream job,” she said.

Sharna said she will hopefully get support from her school to help raise funds.

“I'm going to talk to the school when I get back from holidays. They said they can help me with fundraiser opportunities,” she said.

“I'm also planning to sell chocolates and organise some sausage sizzle events to raise some money.”

Sharna said she will also contribute money from her part time job to the journey.

Anyone who would like to help sponsor Sharna on her trip can contact her through her school on (07) 55239700.

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