I discovered my deep passion for wildlife at a very young age, through the legendary Steve Irwin. He was the one who I grew up watching and felt inspired by him and how courageous he was. My father would take me every weekend to the Queens County Farm to play with the animals and learn about them. I realized that there was something majestic, something very special about animals. Only through a tumultuous time in my life was I able to let this passion of mine come to life.

I am a granddaughter of Holocaust survivor from Queens. An only child, I had lost my father to pancreatic cancer. I finally decided to hop on a plane to chase this wild African dream and couldn’t believe how it all unfolded. This was something I knew my father would’ve been proud of. Despite all the hardships I had to overcome I managed on to keep my faith. I found ways to celebrate the high holidays where ever it was possible. I believed no matter what part of the world you’re in you can always keep Judaism alive. Three years of thriving in challenging times on my own, from fasting on Yom Kippur to lighting Shabbat candles. 

I always questioned why I was born in Queens. I now believe that it played a vital role in my youth. Those days spent at the fair with my Father lead me to this mission. That time in my life brought me to Africa and now I want to bring my knowledge of these amazing animals elsewhere. I hope to one day fulfill my biggest dream by preserving the conservation of species and spread positivity to the world. Increasing threat from poachers and hunters are the blame for endangered species. There’s remarkable beauty in the animal kingdom and if animals become extinct there won’t be anything left to show. My father passed almost three years ago and I want to still be able to carry on and have a Jewish family of my own one day in Africa.

Source: Sonia Perry

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