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2 young Tooele girls are on a mission to save endangered animals

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 17 2012 4:19 p.m. MST

Victoria and Elizabeth Quintana with stuffed animals and other goods from the World Wildlife Fund.

Kristina Quintana

TOOELE — Victoria Quintana is only 5 years old, but already she’s making a difference when it comes to endangered animals.

"I don't like them (to) be killed. And if they're all dead you can never see them, but just in the zoo," she said.

The little girl became interested in saving endangered animals at the end of 2010 when she saw a commercial.

"I was at the sink doing the dishes and she was like, 'Mom! Mom! We need to save the tigers. People are killing them,'" recalled her mother, Kristina Quintana.

Victoria, who was 4 years old at the time, got serious when she enlisted the help of her then-2-year-old sister, Elizabeth, and together they began to save all of their money and allowance so they could donate the money to the World Wildlife Fund.

Last year, they started selling cookies outside stores and at garage sales, pitching their story to anyone who would listen.

“It’s really touched my heart the generosity that we have seen people want to help them,” Kristina said.

She says the idea to raise money for the World Wildlife Fund was all Victoria’s idea. “I just want to encourage my children to do whatever they want,” she said. “This is what they want to do, so I’m behind her 100 percent.

After the girls donated close to $400, the World Wildlife Fund started sending them stuffed animals and information about the organization's efforts.

"We get their newsletters in the mail," Victoria said, "and I read them, the whole entire thing. They hang up pictures (and say) ‘We saved this tiger,' ‘We saved this gorilla,' and I'm like, ‘That's fantastic!' I love it that that's what they tell people."

They raised nearly $500 last year, and they have a very ambitious goal for 2012.

“She said this year she wanted to raise a thousand, but she just said it was $5,100,” Kristina said with a laugh. “OK, that’s gone up a lot.”

Victoria says she knows her efforts give animals a better chance at surviving in the wild. Donations can be made to the Quintana girls' World Wildlife page at wwf.worldwildlife.org/goto/quintanagirls.

"I love these animals because they're the prettiest ever,” Victoria said, “and they're really cool!"

E-mail: dwimmer@ksl.com

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