The call of the wild

by Kent Caddick

There are a large number of worthy charities that aim to provide aid to people in impoverished regions of countries like Africa, but Heather Neill of Rolleston feels that the animals on the continent are often overlooked.

Heather is a passionate veterinary student, currently in her third year of study at Massey University, with a particular interest in wildlife and exotic animals, and is currently the secretary of the Massey University Wildlife and Conservation Club.

The 20-year-old Lincoln High School graduate has been given the opportunity to participate in a fortnight-long volunteering programme for vet students in one of the more disadvantaged areas of South Africa.

Heather said the opportunity to work with both domestic and wild animals is a huge drawcard.


“Our study in New Zealand focusses on working with domestic and production based animals, like cats, dogs and cows,” she said. 

“But in South Africa we are hoping to have the opportunity to work with more exotic animals like cheetah and zebra.

“I have a real interest in the exotic animals but I also want to be able to help out in a disadvantaged community where animals are often suffering and go without veterinary care.”

Unfortunately, this opportunity does come with a financial cost, and Heather is looking to raise more than $6,000 to assist her in helping the animals in need in South Africa.

To help raise funds for her trip, Heather has a Givealittle page through which donations to her fund can be made. This page can be found at