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Class of 2024


Sponsoring Department
Summer 2022

First and foremost, I would like to thank the St. Lawrence university CIIS department
because the travel enrichment grant was truly a blessing and has provided aid to my Australian
journey to immerse in the Australian culture holistically. My experience has allowed me to
authentically visualize and comprehend the differences in people, food, and most importantly
the unique wildlife that could not be compared to any other country. Expanding on the primary
fact that there were already 100 documented extinct species and various others dated back to
the 1700s that need documentation I have learned that terrestrial and marine species are still
exponentially decreasing. However, the Australian government should not be put to blame for
these occurrences because of many global changes, oceanic phenomena, and food supply. I have
visited Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, the Walkabout Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Billabong Sanctuary,
where I gained information on the issues facing Australian wildlife and what steps are put in
place to protect and restore wildlife. The recent oceanic and atmospheric phenomenon, La
Niña, affecting Australian oceans and inland weather patterns, was at the forefront of issues
when communicating with wildlife experts. Many experts are cautioning against a trophic
cascade which is a powerful behavioral interaction between food chain levels that can control
entire ecosystems including humans. Having the chance to snorkel over 5 times in the Great
Barrier reef, it was hard to hear the horrifying fact from Dr. Simpfendorfer, a professor for
marine and Antarctic studies at James Cook University, that there are 30 families, 59 genera,
and 134 species of reef-associated sharks and rays, each with varying degrees of coral-reef
association that are under endangerment or threatened.

Moreover, visiting these wildlife organizations has shown me that Australia is in this
fight to maintain wildlife with organizations like National Environmental Science Program,
Threatened Species Action Plan, International Marine Conservation, and others. These
organizations have been able further support to attack the plight of animal extinction while
regulating fishing, hunting, ecotourism, and wildlife reproduction. The Australian government
ultimately in correspondence with these organizations to try to recognize and values the
experiences, perspectives, and cultures of Indigenous Australians and supports Indigenous
aspirations to maintain, protect and manage their culture, language, land, sea Country, and
heritage. All in all, I will have the ability to use this experience in a future independent study in
correlation with my Computer Engineering degree to build a program or machine to interact
with wildlife, discretely and harmlessly, to collect crucial information for restoring and
protecting them.