Aaron Ramsey has felt a connection with animals for as long as he can remember.
From watching nature documentaries with his dad at his childhood home in Caerphilly to walking his beagle, Halo, the Wales midfielder has surrounded himself with animals his whole life.
And now that he is a professional footballer, Ramsey is using his privileged position to help the World Wide Fund for Nature prevent poaching in Africa, a cause very close to his heart.
“I’ve always had that sort of connection and felt like I’ve always wanted to do something to try to help these animals that are endangered,” he told the Arsenal Weekly podcast. “I can remember being a kid and watching all these documentaries with my dad and having that sort of feeling towards them back then.
“I’ve always wanted to do something and I try to do my bit to raise awareness and help save these animals. I’ve had the privilege of going over to Africa and seeing some of these animals up close in the wild. It would be a shame for my boy if he wasn’t able to do that when he grows up.”
A lifelong fan of David Attenborough nature documentaries, Ramsey has expressed a desire to make one himself - even though his calendar can be very congested.
“We have to come up with the right timings and things,” the midfielder said. “It’s quite difficult as well with the short amount of time that we get off now and the international breaks in the summer months. I would like to make them one day, to get out there and see them up close in the wild. It will happen one day.
“The main issue for me is poaching. That’s still a massive industry going on which we need to try to put a stop to. The demand is so high at the moment that it’s difficult. I’m sure that, if everyone pulls together and gets behind it, we can make things happen to put a stop to it.”
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