Wildlife Management student has passion to protect animals

by Avery Dunlap

Plainsman Online

Though she is only 19, Kaylie Garcia has a lot of dreams for her life. 

They’re starting to come to light after she graduated from high school in May. She is sure that the courses she is taking at South Plains College this semester are going to equip her with the knowledge that she needs in order to achieve her goals. 

Typically, when picking a college, it can be an anxiety-driven experience filled with a lot of uncertainty. Yet, Garcia found this decision quite easy. She knew that she would be attending SPC before entering high school. She explains that many of her family members had been “going here for years” before it was time for her to select the college she was going to attend. Ultimately, this decision was effortless because of history. 

Ever since she was younger, the Smyer resident has had a heart for animals, and would even consider herself an animal rights activist. Because of this passion, when looking at the list of majors, Wildlife Management seemed like the best fit. At age 10, she watched the documentary “Nature,” a documentary showing how different wildlife ecosystems thrive in their environment. When the film concluded, it left her feeling encouraged by what she had seen. 

Kaylie Garcia plans to turn her interest in animals into a career.
Avery Dunlap, Plainsman Online

“Animals deserve to be here as much as we do,” Garcia explained.

The documentary sparked her interest in speaking out against humans poaching, big game hunts, and endangering species. By participating in these activities, “We are taking away the environments that they need to live,” and aiding in the destruction of the planet, according to Garcia.

After graduating, her hope is to move to India to study the wildlife that resides there, especially elephants. Her main focus would be to “observe eating habits and take DNA samples.” Additionally, she would like to investigate the certainty that their ecosystem doesn’t fail from the threats on their communities.

“When they all get poached,” it will be beneficial for scientists to already know their habits, to then preserve the remainder of the endangered species, said Garcia. According to Garcia, there are only around 1,000 Asian elephants alive in Asia, not including those in zoos. Therefore, how the ecosystems in India and other South Asia countries are treated needs to change quickly.

The freshman says that SPC is efficiently preparing her for her ideal career pathway. She is learning a majority of information that she needs to know before pursuing life after college. She explains that the program that she is participating in is, “building her knowledge from the ground up,” since she was unsure what Wildlife Management exactly entailed scientifically. She says she is learning all types of things in her program, from cells to conservation. 

One professor, in particular, has been a role model for her these first couple months of her college career. Garcia explains that Professor Whitney Hoff does a “good job teaching,” because of all of the knowledge she shares about animals and their biology. 

Garcia said she hopes to attend Texas Christian University after receiving her Associate’s Degree at SPC. 

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