Volunteer on the Great Barrier Reef Turtle Rehabilitation Project in Australia

Posted by Tracy Leske on September 8th, 2015

Oceans 2 Earth’s (O2E) Great Barrier Reef Turtle Rehabilitation project offers an opportunity to combine your holidays with meaningful volunteer work. The project is designed for volunteers to aid in the conservation of turtles that fall victim to boats, fishing nets, trawlers, debris and predators, while many of them suffer from serious diseases or Floating Syndrome.

Volunteer efforts 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 O2E will endeavour to make your stay a rewarding one. We will provide you with pre-departure support, project orientation and training and in-country support, and if you need accommodation in Cairns, we can assist with that too, at the best hostel there is in the city.

Learning Opportunities

Your morning begins with a ferry ride to the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre located on an island off Cairns where you will be working with sea turtles, mostly Olive Ridleys and Green Turtles. You will assist in feeding the turtles and cleaning out their tanks for most of the morning. Turtles are not well suited for living in a tank for long periods at a time and can develop algae on their shells as a result. It is the volunteer’s job to scrub it all off. Some of the turtles like a gentle back-scratch too.

Volunteers assist in much needed research which is undertaken on the island or off the coast in the water. Some of this research includes monitoring crowns of thorns on the ocean bed, collecting and analysing marine debris and removing unwanted ghost nets. Special projects that can be offered to volunteers include spending time in the Intensive Care Unit with sick or injured turtles that need extra special care and attention, tagging turtles ready for release and accompanying staff on turtle releases as they are released back into the ocean.

Spare Time

The work roster ensures volunteers are given ample free time in the afternoon to explore the island, and there is plenty to do including beach walks, paddle boarding, kayaking and swimming. This gives volunteers time to enjoy the crystal clear waters around the area and see first-hand the Great Barrier Reef. The recreational equipment is free for volunteers and a lot of fun can be had. Volunteers have lunch at the café or on the beach before the afternoon ferry takes them back to the mainland. While in Cairns, there are plenty of day trips to catch the local sights and places of interest, an abundance of restaurants and cafes to sample the local cuisine and places to go shopping. A Cairns T-Shirt at the market is a must have! Cairns is the gateway to the Atherton Tablelands and Far North Queensland so a popular past time is to travel before or after your placement.

Volunteering with a wildlife rehabilitation project can be a life changing experience. The assistance that volunteers give benefits these wild turtle populations while the volunteer feels a sense of worth as they contribute to a worthy cause. Come and volunteer with us and discover a side of life that embraces global responsibility and the willingness to act upon it.

About the Author:

This article is written by Tracy Leske, Director of Oceans 2 Earth (oceans2earth.org). Oceans 2 Earth is a not-for-profit organisation a non-political, non-religious organisation that provides opportunities for individuals to interact with a variety of animals in a number of countries around the world. They offer amazing volunteering and adventure travel experiences for ethically minded animal and conservation lovers looking for the trip of a lifetime.

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Tracy Leske

About the Author

Tracy Leske
Joined: July 13th, 2015
Articles Posted: 16

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