Author: Elizabeth Sharpe

We all dream about having a job that makes a difference. But only a lucky few have a job that helps people, safeguards our planet for future generations and protects endangered animals.

Here are three surprising jobs that are saving the world, performed by three amazing women who are leading their fields.

Tangled turtle rescuer. A day in the life of Dr. Jillian Hudgins could involve wading into the turquoise waters of the Maldives to save sea turtles from entanglement in lost or discarded fishing nets. Senior project scientist for the Olive Ridley Project, a charity focused on turtle conservation in the Indian Ocean, Hudgins manages a team of volunteers. Together, they check in on the veterinary team at the Turtle Rescue Centre and work with the women of a local Pakistani community who turn ocean trash into art. Hudgins credits following her passion through volunteering and travel for helping her create her dream job. “If there’s not an organization out there focused on what you want to work on, then start one,” she advises.      

Wild whale protector. The Marine Animal Response Society (MARS), based in Halifax, was founded almost 20 years ago to help marine animals like whales and dolphins from stranding and entanglement. Over that time, Tonya Wimmer, founder and current director, has expanded to a collaborative network of over 10 organizations with a 24/7 reporting hotline. With a history of innovative rescues, MARS has established a marine mammal medic training program and research and rescue protocols that provide the safest techniques for animals and people.

Clean ocean crusader. Toronto may not seem a likely location for important work happening to keep our oceans clean from lost or discarded fishing gear, but that’s what Lynn Kavanagh, campaign manager for oceans and wildlife at World Animal Protection, spends her days doing. Part of a global charity, she works with corporate partners, fishing groups and other NGOs to find solutions to keep ghost gear out of the water and remove what’s already there. Making positive change that protects animals, whether it’s a huge policy shift or an individual consumer’s choice, is what means the most to Kavanagh. “Progress for animals takes a huge effort but everyone has a role to play,” she adds.

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