Nickhil Aaron, 11, from Negri Sembilan, has nine pets. Talk about an animal lover! And, he says they are like family to him.
It’s no surprise that he was chosen as one of Sunway Theme Parks’ 10 Wildlife Heroes for the year.
Here, the eldest of three siblings tells us about himself:
“I have three rabbits named Scarlet, Patches and Luna. I also have a guinea pig named Buster; a hamster named Mabel; two oscar fishes named Jules and Jones; a red-eared slider turtle called Tuddles; and a rescued cat named Mochi. I like to watch them and interact with them and I like to surround myself with animals because I treat them as my family! My favourite is Mabel because she plays with me all the time. I feel a strong bond when I interact with animals. My friends are always surprised to find out I have so many pets, and they keep asking if they can come over to play with them.
I am an animal lover and an inquisitive person. I am fascinated with peculiar animals like the mudpuppy and mantis shrimp and would always want to find out more about them.
When I was eight years old, I had the opportunity to feed a tiger cub at Sunway Lagoon. I was very fascinated and excited to be so close to a tiger cub. I even got a chance to feed it. It was not hard to hold the cub because it felt like I was holding a cat. That very first close encounter with a tiger cub motivated me to care for our wildlife. Tigers are living beings too and their lives are no less important than ours.
By venturing into new things, especially the outdoors, I am able to learn and expand my knowledge beyond just classroom learning.
I feel excited and proud to be chosen as a Wildlife Hero as this is an experience of a lifetime. Through it, I hope to learn and understand more about animal behaviours so that I can come up with ways to create awareness on the importance of conserving wildlife and nature.
Participating in the Sunway Theme Parks Wildlife Heroes programme has given me the opportunity to understand nature a little more. I got the chance to go on a night exploration in a cave and traversed through a pitch-black tunnel while admiring the stalactite formations.
One day, I hope to become a zoologist and help conserve animals that are near extinction, such as the orang utan, Sumatran rhinoceros and beluga whale. What irks me is seeing animals abused and hunted. I aspire to stop traffickers and inspire others to join me on this journey.”