Registered Charity in England & Wales No.1165941

Inspired Supporter Tackles Swimming Challenge For Animals In Need


Inspired Supporter Tackles Swimming Challenge For Animals In Need

Yuriria (Yuri) Fernández, a marine mammal veterinarian from Mexico first learned about Wild Welfare in early October 2023. Within weeks she had signed herself up to take part in a challenge event to raise funds for the animal welfare charity, and recently she completed that challenge.

Her interest stemmed from listening to Wild Welfare’s director Simon Marsh talk about the impact the organisation has on the lives of animals around the world. At the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) conference in San Diego, Simon gave a brief break down of Wild Welfare’s activities over the previous year which motivated Yuri to dive in to fundraising activities.

She decided on a swimming event, bravely choosing to tackle an 11km stretch of water in the Las Estacas nature reserve near the town of Tlaltizapan, Mexico. To prepare for the plunge, she trained for seven days a week with an open water swimming coach, steadily increasing her mileage in the water as the date of the swim drew closer.

Just days from the planned event, disaster struck when hurricane Otis hit the area and the swim had to be postponed for safety reasons. The location had to change too as the event was initially planned as an ocean swim in Acapulco Bay in the state of Guerrero. Unperturbed, Yuri was determined to continue with her training and found the new river location just in time for the planned event.

On November 11th Yuri and her daughter Amy submerged themselves into the chilly water and battled against the current for over five kilometres before turning for home to complete the 11k circuit. Evidently they both enjoyed the experience.

It was great! Lots of birds, fish, butterflies! The current was quite strong for the long distance. We enjoyed it very much!”

On emerging triumphantly from the water, Yuri had managed to raise nearly $300 in aid of Wild Welfare’s work, with her JustGiving page remaining open to continue collecting donations after the event.

We are absolutely thrilled and honoured that Yuri chose to support Wild Welfare’s work. Not only did she swim such an enormous distance but she also had the current to contend with. It was a really tough challenge and extremely brave of her. She really is a welfare warrior and we are so grateful to her for raising much needed funds to help captive wild animals!” Victoria Fanthorpe, Wild Welfare Fundraising Manager

With the swim successfully completed, Yuri joins the ranks of other Welfare Warriors who have braved a challenge event to help Wild Welfare be there for more animals in need. If you want to undertake your own challenge and become a welfare warrior like Yuri, you can get involved with our challenge events. From swimming to sky diving, there’s plenty of ways you can fundraise for us to ensure that every animal under human care can thrive.


Notes to Editors

For more information or interview requests please contact Wild Welfare on

Wild Welfare is a global organisation committed to improving animal welfare for captive wild animals. By uniting the world’s leading zoos, zoo associations and animal welfare organisations, we build trusting partnerships that help provide long-term solutions to critical wild animal welfare issues.

Our vision is a world where every captive wild animal is able to thrive and live a good life. Find out more at Registered charity in England (no.1165941).