Dolphin expert in appeal to Wiganers for cash aid

Leanne Rosser, 31, is ineligible for a student loan due to her researching the creatures in Japan for five years

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 9:40 am
Pacific white-sided dolphins jumping in Mutsu Bay

An animal lover who is researching wild dolphins in Japan has launched an appeal to raise money for a master’s degree.

Leanne Rosser, 31, originally from Wigan is raising funds for the course in Marine Vertebrate Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter.

She is ineligible for a student loan due to her researching in Japan for five years, so Leanne has started a Go Fund Me campaign in the hope that people will help raise the thousands needed in tuition fees.

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A Pacific white-sided dolphin spyhopping

Her journey started in the East Asian country after a research internship with Sea Watch Foundation.

It has also seen her work with a university in Osaka analysing social behaviour in bottlenose dolphins along with non-profit organisation Mutsu Bay Dolphin Research. There she studied Pacific white-sided dolphins while she did outreach work in Northern Japan.

Her work sees her study two different dolphin species, which are wild Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins and Pacific white-sided dolphins.

Leanne, who grew up on Barnsley Street in Springfield and left the town aged 19 to go to university, said: “In September I hope to accept my place on the Marine Vertebrate Ecology and Conservation Masters of Science course at the University of Exeter.

Leanne Rosser presenting her flipper rubbing research at the Japan Ethology Conference 2019

“The very experience that led to a place on this programme however is what makes me ineligible for a loan with Student Finance as I haven’t lived in the UK for the past five years.

“It was always my intention to return to the UK to be closer to family.

“My now husband and I had only intended to live in Japan for a year but the opportunities I was offered in the world of dolphin research were too great to pass up on so we ended up staying longer.”

And Leanne, whose love of whales and dolphins began in high school from reading books and watching nature documentaries, said the tuition fees for the one-year course are a whopping £13,800.

She said this was an “overwhelming amount” for someone without the option of getting a student loan - and now her aim is to raise £10,000 to help fund it. So far £700 has been raised.

She said: “Most of the research jobs I have done have been either unpaid or low-paid and so I have often had to work on the side as an English teacher to pay my way, which doesn’t leave me with much in the way of savings.

“I’m really hoping to raise £10,000 on my GofundMe campaign to help with the costs of furthering my education.

“As an English literature graduate I have worked hard to gain enough scientific experience to earn a place on a master’s of science programme so this means the world to me.

“I would be very grateful for people’s support in achieving my dolphin dreams!”

She added: “My experiences have changed me but I’m still definitely a Wigan girl at heart.

“The worst thing about living in Japan was definitely the lack of pies so I’m really looking forward to having my first one in years when I get back!”

People can donate money by searching for ‘Leanne Rosser GofundMe’ or alternatively following the link: https://gofund.me/945eb6bd

For more updates people can follow her work on social media @konnichiwadolphin or www.konnichiwadolphin.com

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