It was a heart-warming sight for many, as friends and teachers found animals naturally gravitating towards Muhammad Saad during INTI International College Kuala Lumpur’s (INTI) volunteering programme at Zoo Negara.

 


INTI’s volunteers along with Saad (second from right) clearing away trash from the animal’s den

Muhammad Saad, the eldest sibling of three, moved to Kuala Lumpur six months ago to pursue his tertiary education. Presently undergoing his Diploma in Business at INTI, Saad has been fond of animals ever since he was a little boy. He attributes this to his family owning a farm back in his hometown of Karachi, Pakistan, where they raise cows, buffaloes, and Spanish bulls. Apart from the cattle, they also had two Persian cats; Oreo and Hazel, who Saad was very attached to.

“I was closest to all of my pets among my family members. Hazel, for instance, could only sleep if she was laying on my chest,” says Saad.

Due to his love for animals, it came as no surprise that Saad was particularly excited for a trip to Malaysia’s National Zoo, which houses over 476 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish .

A total of 35 INTI staff and students, including Saad, participated in the volunteering activity. Upon arriving at the zoo, the volunteers were divided into smaller groups and assigned to different areas, where they were tasked with responsibilities such as the food preparation, feeding the animals and cleaning selected animals’ enclosures. Saad’s group was assigned to clean the ponies’ and goats’ dens, as well as the beaver’s enclosures.

 


Saad (second from left) posing for a group photo with other INTI students after a day’s worth of volunteering

“I had never encountered a beaver before and I thought they that they would be unfriendly. They turned out to be one of the friendliest creatures I have met!” remarked Saad.

While at the goats’ den, Uma Mageswary, Library Manager at INTI and assigned INTI staff to Saad’s group, shared Saad’s little act of heroism, “As we were cleaning the goats’ den, we found that one of the goats had ventured outside the cordoned area. We were worried because the goat could have escaped and that may have caused a problem. The other volunteers had challenges ushering it into the designated area, but Saad approached it and coaxed it into inching closer to him. The goat was calm around Saad, and before we knew it, the goat allowed Saad to carry it and place it into the designated area!”

“It was endearing to watch Saad interact with the goat because he did it so lovingly and gently. He seemed like a natural around all of the animals we came across!” continued Uma.

INTI’s volunteering programme was a joint effort between INTI’s recreational team, INTI’s Student Services Department and INTI’s student council representatives as well as Zoo Negara, who have welcomed many foreign and local students who are eager to volunteer and interact with their animal counterparts.

Anis Laila, Chief Executive of INTI International College Kuala Lumpur, shares, “At INTI, we believe in providing holistic learning opportunities and creating transformative approaches to learning. We believe activities such as these are essential for students to develop into well-rounded individuals as they prepare themselves to be future professionals and advocates, be it for wildlife conservation or businesses alike.”