Tolga’s studies at Capel Manor College began with animal care at Level 2 before he progressed onto a Level 3 course in animal management. Tolga is now a well established conservation biologist, writer, and environmental photojournalist.
“I have always been passionate about the natural world ever since I was a child, travelling between my parent’s countries of Northern Cyprus and Jamaica. I learned to love mountains, forests, oceans, agriculture, and the wild fauna and flora that inhabited those two islands much more than I did with anything else. Although I have admired wild things from a very young age, I never knew that a career could be obtained with wildlife or in nature.
Before starting my studies with Capel Manor College, I was stuck in the career field of electrical engineering which was completely not of interest to me. It was great fortune when I changed careers and stumbled across Capel Manor College. I loved that it was fairly local to me, that I met all of the entry requirements, and that the course content looked very exciting. My time at the College built the important foundations that over time have exposed me to a very rewarding career journey.
The Animal Care (Level 2) course was amazing as it allowed me to learn so many things I never ever dreamed of learning such as animal biology, gave me the ability to make new friends who were just as passionate as I was about animals and also to undertake work experience. While I was studying, I had the opportunity to work at a city farm, children’s zoo, a monkey rehabilitation sanctuary, a wolf conservation centre, and I even worked on a conservation project in Northern Cyprus near my family’s village to protect wild sea turtles.
After completing my studies at Capel Manor College, I continued my education at the University of Gloucestershire with a Bachelor’s degree in animal biology. During my three years at university, I experienced some truly transformative experiences working in conservation across the world. I travelled solo to South Africa twice to work with endangered species of wildlife such as the African wild dog, lion, rhino, elephant, cheetah, leopard, and vulture. I also journeyed through the deepest parts of the Bornean jungle in search of critically endangered primates such as the Bornean orangutan.
I am now an ambassador for the UK Wild Otter Trust, The European Nature Trust, Dogs 4 Wildlife, and Wildlife ACT. I hope to use my roles to help communicate to the wider public why the natural world and its inhabitants need protecting. At present my biggest focus is trying to become a published author, continuing to assist in worldwide conservation projects, and continuing to inspire the next generation that any of their dreams can be possible if they work hard enough towards it all.
All of my experiences have certainly allowed me to become a great candidate for future employment opportunities and I give the College a huge thank you for helping me begin my journey towards a career in conservation!”