Wildlife student nominated for top award for dedication to helping animals

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A Salford student who has helped to save an animal sanctuary in Zimbabwe from closing down has been nominated for a top award.

Tash Woest, 32, has been nominated for the Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots & Shoots Award ‘Individual Endeavour’, for her dedication to helping rescue animals.

Tash, originally from Zimbabwe,  used to run an animal selter in Sale for five years, before she decided to enrol at the University of Salford. Recently, she helped save an animal sanctuary in Zimbabwe from closing down.

The second year wildlife student said: “I was shocked but made up to have been nominated for this award. Shocked because to me I’m just me, doing something that I am passionate about. To get noticed for it is amazing. Jane Goodall is my idol, so I’m excited I’ll get top meet her for a second time at the award ceremony”.

Tash, who lives in Altrincham, has been working at animal rescue shelters since she was ten years old, where she volunteered at Mutare SPCA, the only animal rescue shelter in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe.

She visited the sanctuary three years ago, and was shocked at what she discovered that she felt she had to do something to help.

Tash said: ” It broke my heart when I went back to the animal sanctuary. Due to the financial struggle in Zimbabwe, wooden pallets with a car tyre placed on top were being used for dog beds. The dogs were eating a porridge based diet with some meat mixed in because the shelter couldn’t afford a full dog food diet for them.

animals and tash

At the start of 2017, the animal sanctuary put out a plea to raise vital funds in order to keep the animal sanctuary open.

However, saving the animal sanctuary was made tougher for Tash, due to the financial crisis in the country making online donations complicated.

She said: “I had to do something to help, but due to the financial crisis in Zimbabwe, it is very difficult to have an easy online donation method and a way to set up monthly donations.  However, there is a way for international donations to reach them.  The animal rescue did not have a website and one of the things I did was design and publish a website to help generate funds and raise awareness. Along with other students, we hope to arrange a university fundraiser and apply for international grants to help secure funding.”

Phillip James, Professor of Ecology, Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre Leader within the School of Environmental Science said: “I have had the privilege of being Tash’s personal tutor for nearly two years while she has been studying for her degree in Wildlife and Practical Conservation at the University of Salford.

Through tutoring Tash I have gained an insight into her passion for conservation and her extra-curricular activities that are directed towards wildlife and the environment.  I can vouch for her determination, hard work, and effectiveness. I have rarely come across someone who is able to work across a number of scales from big strategic thinking to attention to detail in the execution of her plan. Knowing her, I fully expect her to make a significant contribution to global conservation issues, to fulfil her dream”.

The Roots and Shoots Awards recognize student’s commitment to the environment, people and/or animals.  Such efforts are published on the Roots & Shoots blog under the universities name and once a year, students are nominated for their efforts towards the categories.

The Jane Goodall Awards will take place at the Barbican Centre, in London on Friday 3rd March.

The website that Tash developed for Mutare SPCA website is here .

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