Graduate heeds call of the wild

SINGAPORE - You would think a graduate from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information would pick a career in journalism or public relations.

But Mr Pedro Shiu decided that his destiny lay in Mandai - with his animal friends.

The 26-year-old joined the zoo 1½ years ago, giving educational talks to school children.

His interest in animals was piqued as a young child. "My father used to watch documentaries on TV often and I would watch with him. That was how I got hooked."

Mr Shiu admits to being "one of those annoying kids in class", pointing out mistakes the teacher made when it came to animals.

Mr Shiu started volunteering at the zoo in 2005, when he was an Anglo-Chinese Junior College student.

"It was part of the Singapore Press Holdings Conservation Ambassadors programme in 2005 and my school was involved in the trial, so I volunteered."

It was only after his national service that he worked part-time on the weekends with Animal Presentations.

Mr Shiu also volunteered with an aquarium in the United States when he was there on a school attachment.

It was during these stints that he discovered his calling to work with animals.

Mr Shiu now trains Conservation Ambassadors, conducts overnight camps and even plays the role of Dr Ooz for the Zoo Goes to School outreach programme.

"Whenever I speak to children, or even to adults, about animals, I see the light in their eyes. It is this magic that keeps me going."

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