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Volunteer with Great Barrier Reef Turtle Rehabilitation Projects, in Australia

Author: Tracy Leske
by Tracy Leske
Posted: Aug 19, 2016

The Great Barrier Reef Turtle Rehabilitation project presents an opportunity to combine holidays with meaningful volunteer work. Those interested can aid in the conservation of turtles that fall victim to fishing nets, trawlers, debris and predators. Some of them suffer from serious diseases or, the most common disease called Floating Syndrome, or Floater’s Disease.

Those efforts can contribute to the health and welfare of endangered animals and the survival of their habitat. All you need is the will to make a difference, and the benefits of spending time with these beautiful and graceful animals will pay off. We can pre-departure support, project orientation and training, 24-hour in-country support and a 24-hour emergency phone should you need to speak to us. You can opt for accommodation in Cairns, complete with breakfast, or go it on your own.

Learning Opportunities

Your morning begins with a ferry ride to the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre located on an island off Cairns. You will be working with sea turtles, usually Olive Ridleys and Greens. You will assist in feeding the turtles and cleaning out their tanks. Turtles are not well suited for living in an enclosed tank and build up algae as a result. Volunteers have the special role of cleaning this algae off with a back scratch and a brush.

Volunteers may get to complete reef monitoring research, an important contribution that aids research into saving the Great Barrier Reef, or help receive visitors at the Education Centre. Some volunteers are offered special projects if they are at the project long enough. This may include working in the Intensive Care Unit with sick and/or injured turtles that need special care, assisting with tagging turtles prior to release and cleaning the beach of garbage, ghost nets and other debris. Either way, you are lending a hand in this organisation’s efforts to release these turtles back into the wild and keep their habitat clean and safe.

Personal Time

The roster is designed to give you ample free time in the afternoon. You can enjoy the crystal clear waters around the island by using the paddle boarding and kayaking equipment which is free for volunteers. There is a trampoline to dive into the deep waters where you might run into a wild turtle or two. Maybe you would like to relax on the beach or take a swim, or for the more adventurous at heart, climb to the summit of a nearby hill. After the day’s work, the afternoon ferry takes you back to the mainland. Then while in Cairns, you can go on day trips to catch the local sights and places of interest, sample the local cuisine or go shopping. Many of the volunteers also travel extensively before or after their project placements. What a way to spend your holiday break!

Volunteering with a wildlife conservation project can be a life changing experience. It certainly is life changing for the animals that you help. Come and work with us and discover a different side of life.
About the Author

This article is written by Josephine Kent, Marketing Coordinator of Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers, an organization that provides opportunities for volunteers to work with animals on a variety of animal.

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Author: Tracy Leske

Tracy Leske

Member since: Jul 13, 2015
Published articles: 14

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