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Great Barrier Reef: An Eco Friendly Volunteering Tour in Australia
21st April 2016

Marine Conservation

The Great Barrier Reef is among the many attractions that Australia has to offer. It is also home to a huge population of marine turtles. However, because of disease, starvation and injuries caused by discarded fishing gear, boats or the ingestion of plastic materials and products that these gentle animals mistake for food, marine turtles are constantly rescued and taken into care. Fortunately, there are rehabilitation centres that take injured sea turtles brought in from the Reef and rehabilitate them, giving them specialised care and treatment.

A Rehabilitation Centre for sick marine turtles on the Great Barrier Reef is kept alive by volunteers as well as by donations from local businesses. Over the last 10 years, the centre has seen and treated in excess of 170 sick and injured Green, Olive Ridley and Hawksbill turtles, of which many have contracted "floaters disease," a disease common to sea turtles.

Volunteers offer their time and effort to assist. As you can imagine, there is feeding and cleaning to do, tourist tours to run and turtles to rescue and release. It is a great contribution to this self-sustainable rehabilitation centre as it could not be run without their help.  The volunteers get something in return of course, as this is very unique and special work and vacancies are limited. Where else would you get to be so close with some of the most prehistoric creatures on earth?

The centre is very much in need of additional hands that assist them in rehabilitating these turtles while sustainable and humane practices are promoted with the use of education initiatives to locals and tourists. Volunteers can enjoy being close with the turtles while completing simple tasks including cleaning turtle tanks, feeding the turtles, scratching the turtles, performing reef monitoring research, turtle release and providing any kind of assistance when requested. Volunteers may also enjoy a special visit to the Intensive Care Unit where they can see local volunteers care for critically injured or very sick turtles. Volunteers are expected to work in hot, humid, or wet weather, depending on the season in which they visit. You do not need to have any special skills to volunteer at this rehabilitation centre. The only requirement for this kind of volunteering projects is a love for animals and their welfare.

Written by Tracy Leske (Director, Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers)

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