DURAL resident Ben Dessen got his first pet snake when he was six, an act that sparked a passion for animals and conservation.
That devotion has seen him raise $20,000 for wildlife conservation, work for Sydney Wildlife and win a $50,000 scholarship to study natural science with the University of Western Sydney.
In 2008, he went to Borneo to see first hand how palm oil deforestation is killing native orang-utans and possibly leading to the ape’s extinction.
“I witnessed how the way of life of developed countries has fuelled the deforestation in Borneo,” Dessen, 19, said.
“As a result, we …