'Animal geek' on mission to help elephants
A self-proclaimed "animal geek" is about to embark on a journey to help endangered elephants in Thailand.
Long-time Howick resident Samantha Boston, 25, has loved animals for as long as she can remember.
So much so that she is literally dedicating her life to helping the creatures that "can't help themselves".
Miss Boston worked as a zoo-keeper at Auckland Zoo while studying towards her veterinary nurse degree.
When she completed her studies she did a voluntary internship at a Wolf Sanctuary in Oregon, United States.
"I fed and cleaned the 10 arctic wolves and provided them with enrichment to keep them busy. Some of them hated people because they were from illegal pet trade backgrounds or had been abused."
At the wolf sanctuary Miss Boston helped run tours, educate tourists and teach them that wolves are not creatures to be feared.
Miss Boston's next adventure begins in May when she will travel to Thailand to volunteer at an elephant sanctuary. She says there are 200 elephants working on the streets of Bangkok.
"Half of the elephants - wild or not - go through an ordeal when they're taken from their mums. It's called ‘phajaan' which literally translates to ‘crush'. It's a week of torture where their spirits are crushed to teach them to obey humans."
Miss Boston says it feels good knowing she's doing something to help animals.
Next year she heads to Borneo to work with orangutans.
"I have a blog set up and I would love people to follow what I'm doing. My work can sometimes be quite isolated but knowing people are reading my blog makes me feel less lonely."