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Rainforest Bat Rehabilitation

Atherton Tablelands, Queensland, Australia

Rainforest Bat Rehabilitation
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Q & As

  • What's included?

  • Pre-departure support
  • Project Information Booklet
  • Project orientation
  • Training
  • Field equipment and materials
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Return transfers from the local town to the project
  • O2E T-Shirt
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • 24-hour O2E emergency phone
  • Certificate of Participation, if requested
  • What's not included?

  • Flights
  • Transfers from Cairns to the local town
  • Snacks
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal spending
  • Visas
  • What training & support will I receive?

You will receive an orientation upon arrival at the project by either the shelter operator or one of the long term volunteers. On the job training will also be provided to ensure the best standards of care are given to the animals. The owner is on site to assist with any support or direction you may need during your placement. O2E support staff are only a phone call or email away for any query you might have.
  • Are my meals included in my project fee?

Yes, with the exception of when you are traveling or socialising, all meals are provided.
  • Will I be in contact with the animals?

This depends on how long you are at the project for. During the quiet season, there is usually no contact with the bats, however when the orphans begin arriving, they require handling as they cannot care for themselves. The adult bats are usually handled by long stay volunteers.
  • How many bats are at the centre?

The centre cares for up to 600 bats of which 100 are permanent residents. These are mainly species of flying foxes, however the centre cares for a variety of microbats as well.
  • Are bats dangerous?

Bats are sadly misunderstood. Flying foxes, the biggest of the bats, are actually something to celebrate. They contribute greatly to the local environment and the economy.

The worlds 1295 species of bats are divided into 2 groups microbats and megabats of which microbats are by far the larger group. Quite misleading is that some species of megabat are smaller than some microbat species. Bats use echolocation as well as vision to see and are usually small. They eat insects and are very important for controlling insect numbers, especially for farmers. As a group, they eat a very wide range of foods blood (vampire bats), fish, fruit, blossom and small mammals. The megabats, which include flying foxes, eat fruit and blossom. Bats that eat fruit and blossom are very important for pollination and seed dispersal, both essential services for healthy forests.

Bats (or flying foxes as they are also known) are not aggressive and don't hurt people intentionally. They do however bite when defending themselves. In fact, bats are mostly harmless to humans.

When they join the commuter rush at dusk, flying foxes are off to their job as forest-makers. Incurable sweet-tooths, flying foxes eat fruit, nectar and blossom. In the process, they pollinate flowers and disperse seeds of important native trees. Winging their way around the landscape, up to 100 km in a night, flying foxes are responsible for the upkeep of many forest species.

There are some diseases that are spread from animals to humans and so all volunteers are required to have vaccinations specific to the animals they will be working with.

In the case of bats, the Australian bat lyssavirus (ABL) can be contracted by humans when scratched or bitten by a bat which has ABL. ABL is a form of rabies and is extremely rare. The project screens every bat that comes in for treatment for ABL.

Bats can also carry the Hendra virus which can infect horses and horses can then infect humans.

Both these diseases are not common and risk of getting sick from bats in minimal especially if you take very simple medical precautions. A pre-requisite before starting this project is that volunteers must be vaccinated against ABL. Your travel doctor will be able to advise you further.
  • When should I apply?

In most cases, whenever you like! There are usually no deadlines for the application process as we accept volunteers any time. Naturally, we would like to receive your application form as far in advance as possible so that we can comfortably process your placement. You will need some time to book your flights and complete any other travel bookings for your trip. It is important to note that some projects have limited places and so the sooner you apply, the more chance you have of securing a place. Projects can only accommodate a certain number of volunteers, so it makes sense to apply as soon as you've decided where and when you want to go and what you want to do. If you decide on a placement within the same month you wish to travel, call or send us an email to see if we can accommodate you.
  • How far in advance can I book a project?

It is dependent upon the organisation, however usually you can book a project up to 18 months in advance.
  • Can I combine more than one placement?

Yes you can combine placements, either within a country or across countries. Simply choose the projects you wish to undertake and apply.

See the project information tab of this project where O2E have suggested projects that are in the same region or of similar type. You can always liaise with O2E staff who will assist with any questions you may have.
  • When can I start?

This project accepts volunteers from September to April which is the busiest time of the year.
  • Can my friend or partner join me on the placement?

Yes of course. We encourage volunteers to travel with friends, partners and husbands/wives. The experience of volunteering with animals is unique and having someone to share your stories with is priceless. On your application forms, simply write in your travel partner's name/s and we will process your applications together.
  • What are the costs involved?

Please refer to Duration and Costs tab on the project pages for project fees. Our project hosts do not have the funding or resources to pay volunteers, therefore all placements are voluntary and self-funded. Your fees will ensure that the organisations we support are able to house you without any strain on their resources. Please refer to Paying to Volunteer on the Volunteer Info tab on the website for more information.
  • What is the best way to take money on a long trip overseas?

O2E suggests having a debit card for your main funds, a credit card for backup and keep these separate. Traveller's cheques are not widely used these days. Check you bank's policy on charges abroad, and take at least $50 cash with you in a money belt converted into the currency of the country you are entering. This will start you off and save you the urgency of trying to find a cash machine on arrival! Refer to the Travel Checklist in the Travel Resources section for more tips.
  • Will there be an opportunity to sightsee while I am on my placement?

Most definitely. All O2E project hosts operate on a work roster that allows free time to sightsee. Volunteers often take this opportunity to go on trips to local places of interest, shop or sample local cuisine. Many volunteers travel extensively before and/or after the end of their placements, often forming groups with other volunteers.
  • Will I be on my own or are there other volunteers at the same project?

The more the merrier we say! You will usually never be the only volunteer on a project, however on rare occasions for smaller projects it may be the case. You will most likely be amongst other like-minded volunteers from all over the world. Some of our projects have up to 35 volunteers at a time!
  • Is it all work and no play?

No, of course not! All of our projects have a social aspect. Many projects organise outings to local towns, restaurants, National Parks, beaches, spas and places of cultural significance. When you are not working, you are free to undertake any recreational activities of your choice on your own or with people you meet at the project. White water rafting, going on safari, climbing an ancient ruin, going shopping in town…the opportunities are endless.
  • How old do I need to be?

Organisations set their own age ranges based on the type of work and the level of maturity required in order to complete tasks. The minimum age limit for this project is 21 years of age.
  • What should I pack?

Refer to the Travel Resources section for a general packing list. Your Project Information Pack will have specific items that are suggested for your placement.
  • What camera equipment should I take?

It is a good idea to take one or more USB keys and some DVD discs. When you get to an internet cafe, download your photos to the USB keys, and then copy them onto DVDs. That way you have two copies of your files, on USB and on DVD. Keep them in separate locations in your luggage or post the DVDs home. Look at the O2E Packing List under Travel Resources for what to take.
  • Will everyone speak my language?

It depends on what it is! We ask that all volunteers are fluent in English as it is a prerequisite that instructions are understood effectively so that no harm comes to you or the animals. Project staff are all English speaking. Volunteers come from all corners of the globe and speak a variety of languages.
  • Can I extend my placement?

Yes, however this is dependent upon project availability, visa requirements and flight restrictions. If you would like to extend your placement, simply talk to the project staff or email O2E at volunteer@oceans2earth.org. If you do decide to extend your project this should be done by contacting the O2E staff, not directly with the project. This ensures all your new travel and project arrangements are processed efficiency and correctly.
  • Will I need vaccinations?

Vaccinations come in many forms including oral liquid, tablets and injections. Vaccinations protect not only you from illness but also the animals in your care that may be susceptible to human disease or sickness. For vaccinations required for this project, refer to the Project Information Booklet upon receipt of your confirmation. You will also find general information in the Travel Resources section of the website and don't forget to consult a travel doctor. Your Project Information Pack will provide specific vaccinations required for the project.
  • What if I become ill?

If you get sick while on your placement, O2E In-Country Coordinators and project staff know where the best medical care can be found. In your Project Information Pack, you will also receive a phone number which can be used for emergencies should you require assistance from O2E staff at any time during your placement. In the unlikely event that you are seriously ill, your comprehensive travel insurance policy will cover you for your treatment and medical costs. O2E and project staff will be available to liaise with your family, the insurance company and any relevant medical practitioners if necessary. O2E requires all volunteers to hold adequate insurance while on an O2E placement. Please refer to the Travel Resources and Terms and Conditions sections of the website.
  • What if I have more questions?

If you have any questions or would like to discuss projects in more detail, please don't hesitate to contact us by emailing volunteer@oceans2earth.org with your questions or to set up a Skype session.