World Animal Warriors founder Pascale Terry is in the throes of chasing her passion for helping animals – from Cambodian sun bears to Sumatran orangutans – in a round-the-world mission that started four years ago with the rescue of an enormous fur baby– an Alaskan Malamute by the name of Butch – who was on death row.
“I thought, if I can save him, I can save other animals across the world, and that’s where it really began,” says Pascale, who is sister of professional bucket-list ticker-offer Sebastian Terry and who’ll be tackling the affects of climate change with polar bears before the year is out. “My goal is to shine a light on those sorts of issues and educate people gently.”
We asked her how World Animal Warriors sprouted its wings, where it’s taken her and how others can get involved.
Why did you start World Animal Warriors and how did you get going?
It was probably around five months ago, and I was sitting at home on my couch watching a documentary on polar bears and that familiar feeling of helplessness and wanting to do more kind of reared over me. For the first time I sat back and thought, if I feel like this every time I see these sorts of things happening, why am I not actually out there making a difference? I ended up booking different holidays based around experiencing animals in the wild and I really grew a huge interest and a huge passion for it. When I began World Animal Warriors, my goal was to work with some fantastic conservation programs.
How did you choose which organisations to help out?
There are so many that pretend to be conservation groups or sanctuaries, and a lot of them aren’t, so you have to really do your due diligence to make sure that they are in fact the real deal. There are some conservation groups that will rescue animals and they’ll breed those animals for their cubs or puppies or whatever it might be and never to release them back into the wild. So if you come across one of those, you know that you don’t want to support them.
What has most moved you on your travels?
I was working in India on a Bengal Tiger conservation initiative program and one morning we woke up to the news that one of our tigers and one of the leopards in the park had been poached and killed overnight. It was absolutely gut-wrenching and heartbreaking. Unless we deter the hunters and the illegal wildlife trade, these tigers, for example, they’re going to be extinct within five years. That really hit home for me.
The best part of what you do?
Working in the animal sanctuaries. These animals have all lived lives of absolute torture and misery… in a restaurant or bear fighting pits of whatever it might be, and seeing them coming into the sanctuary, and for the first time, feeling grass on their paws or feeling the sun on their face, and them realising that they’re actually safe, and loved – that is so heart-warming to see.
Any advice on how to raise money for a cause?
There’s no point trying to raise money in something just for the sake of it, you have to really be passionate about what you’re doing and what your goal is. People respond to that. They go, ‘Wow, this girl knows what she’s talking about. She’s telling us what the money’s being used for and it sounds like a great cause.’ You have to have all the information behind you before you start getting people to donate their money to you.
How do you plan to keep doing the work that you do?
I’m not actually raising money for World Animal Warriors at all yet. It has all been funded by me, which people are surprised by. I’m in that area now where I’m thinking I want to dedicate all my time to World Animal Warriors, so that’s my dilemma: how can I potentially monetise WAW so I can dedicate my whole time to that and still travel to those remote parts of the world to help those animals that need my help? That’s my next goal – to figure at those next steps – but I’m sure it will happen.
What advice would you give to others wanting to start a passion project?
I think you need to dig deep. Figure out what makes you comfortable – what situations in life you find yourself in where you feel like, this is my place, this is where I need to be and what I should be doing. And once you find that, you just need to throw everything in it and don’t have any fear. Also, don’t listen to anyone that says, ‘That’s a silly idea, it’s been done before.’ Anything you do will be individual – because you’re creating it. So run for it.
To be part of the conversation or to support Pascale’s work, see her GoFundMe campaign here.