Wildlife Warrior Volunteer

MichelaRainForestKoalas

My Wildlife Warrior Volunteer Experience in Australia

As I mentioned before I was keen to do some volunteer work in Australia. I could imagine myself working in an australian organic farm or as a jillaroo in a cattle station in the rugged and dusty australian outback.  To be honest I never got round to doing some solid research to find out about all viable volunteer projects and went off to Australia with no clear ideas nor fix plans.

How I found out about the Wildlife Warrior Volunteer Project

As it most of times happens, you do not need to look for something, the law of attraction makes things happen for you! And this is how I found out about the Wildlife Warriors Project, through someone who had joined this volunteer project a few months earlier. Someone I met during the first weeks of my last travels in Australia.  Word of mouth is probably the best way to come across good volunteer projects. Listening to others’ volunteer experience is a great way of getting the information about the project so as to assess whether the project can be something for yourself. The best thing is obviously try it out personally and make it real. By listening to this girl’ inspiring story I soon fell in love with the idea of  being involved with the australian wildlife protection and did not think much about it. I simply followed my feeling that said, yes I want to “become a Wildflife Warrior”

Koalahand

How to become a Wildlife Warrior Volunteer

As the terms says you will be a “Real Warrior”, a “Wildlife Warrior“, who actively contribute in the daily care of injured and sick australian wild animals. At this point don’t be easily mislead, you will not be cuddling sick animals or taking photographs all the time….surprisingly 50% of  people applying for a volunteer post as a Wildlife Warrior has this expectation….The work that expects you is solid work helping out in the daily life of wild animal patients.

What do you do as a Wildlife Warrior Volunteer

The daily volunteer work I was involved was mostly focused on cleaning koalas enclosures and paste-feeding koala patients. Koalas represent the largest number of patients at the wildlife hospital in Beerwah and the bulk of work with the maintenance of the enclosures is done by regular volunteers. Everyone helps out according to his or her personal abilities and skills, however you must be prepared to take up some routine tasks as well as be confronted with occasional tasks according to the needs or emergencies that crop up in the daily life of the wildlife hospital.

MichelaCleaning

Memories from my Wildlife Warrior Volunteer Experience

The 5 days spent volunteering at the Wildlife Hospital are filled with many beautiful memories. The list could be endless. At this stage I want to share with you some of the highlights of my Wildlife Warrior experience. Cleaning the enclosures of sick and injured koalas. Every day each single enclosure is cleaned  from top to bottom thoroughly. A daily routine work wich included scrubbing and washing the floor and the brunches from the dirt, as well as filling the pots with fresh water, leafing in and out, etc.

Koalacleaning2

Feeding Koalas was, among other things, the most exciting experience. You need to learn some basic skill of how to do it properly but it is not difficult at all. However feeding koalas is not as eay as it may sound, koalas, like human beings, have their own character, moods and approach, some koalas are keen on their daily paste, some others simply hate it. So as a novice warrior I only had to feed the “good ones” and I had the honour of feeding the koala patient Warren for a few days, as you can see from the pictures below, I really enjoyed it and Warrend did it too :)

Koalafeeding2

On a couple of days I also had the chance of looking after turtles, helped out with the cleaning of the pools and feeding them. In the picture below I am placing a turtle patient back into its pool, after receiving medical treatment from a nurse.

Turtlefeeding

Leafing In Leafing Out, you might be wondering what is this? As you know Koalas only eat Gum Tree Leaves but only a certain type of leaves. And they truly are avid eaters, they eat and sleep all day long. One of your task as a volunteer is to make sure that each enclosure is filled with fresh gum tree branches for koalas to grab and eat. Take a look at the pictures so that you can get an idea of how leafing in and out is done.

Michelaleafing

During the cleaning process you have to remove the old leaves and replace them with fresh gum tree leaves. You must develop the feel for it, what has to be removed and what can be left inside. Moreover some of them prefer eating only a certain type of gum tree leaves, so at the beginning it was very confusing, but after a couple of days you get used to it and you do it naturally. If you ask me, I still cannot distinguish a blue gum leaf from a casuarina gum leaf :)  But do not worry  experienced volunteers and the lovely wildlife hospital staff help out with that, pulling out the right bunches of fresh gum tree leaves for you to fill the pots in each koala enclosure! :)

Wildlifehospitalleafingnew

Loaded trolley with fresh gum tree leaves for the Koalas Patients

Wildlifehospitalleafing5


Watching animal patients’ in the I.C.U and in the emergency rooms

The ICU is the intensive centre unit of the Wildlife Hospital and sick and diseased animals receive intensive medical treatment until their conditions get better to be moved to either outside animal enclosures or to be released. Every day we could go for a short tour and watch animals being treated by a vet or a nurse, it is amazing to see huge birds lying on the first aid bed, it is so unusual for ordinary people like me. One day I remember seeing a dead kangaroo probably hit by a car lying down wrapped into a blue towel and one other day we could witness vets dissecting a dead whale. It was very touching to see all this.

KoalaICU

Sharing thoughts and stories with other Wildlife Warriors Volunteers and Employees. This is also something I really loved. The people I met were fantastic loving and caring people.The volunteers work is coordinated by lovely employees of the Wildlife Hospital. Kylie was the volunteer coordinator who looked after me. Since most of regular volunteers come in on a regular day I could meet quite a few of them during my 5 days volunteering, I met Vanda who has an interesting story to tell. It was so inspiring to listen to their stories and exchange thoughts on australian wildlife issues. Moreover during my stay there were some international vet students working on volunteer projects, so that was an occasion for me to get to know them too. Here you can read more about the Wildlife Hospital Team.

What I have learnt as a Wildlife Warrior Volunteer

Although I spent only a short time volunteering at the Wildlife Hospital, during my 5 days as a Wildlife Warrior I could gathered so much knowledge about the australian wildlife and especially about

  • things that can be done to protect and save endangered australian animals
  • the threats and risks Koalas in Queensland are currently undergoing
  • how to help save koalas in Queensland and preserve their natural habitat
  • the importance of education about the australian wildlife
  • ways of arising people’s awareness about the australian wildlife issues
  • the important role of volunteer work in the australian wildlife protection
  • spreading the love about volunteer work with the australian wildlife conservation
The time spent volunteering at the hospital has been an amazing and personally a highly rewarding experience.  Not only I could learn so much about koalas and the australian wildlife, but also coud I realize how important it is to be actively involved with it. Although my contribution only was a tiny part of the whole work the wildlife hospital organization does, being able to help out in the daily maintance of the banks and with the koalascare was a very rewarding experience.
Volunteering as A Wildlife Warrior is truly is a fantastic opportunity to get close to endangered australian animals, learn about the threats they are going through, how you can be actively contributing in the  australian wildlife conservation. If you really love the australian native animals your work as a volunteer is really important to help save them!

Here you can learn ways of help save endangered koalas.
Remember that

…Small changes in everyday lives make a BIG difference…

 As the Wildlife Warrior Motto says

“Save one, save the species”

 
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