G’day! I am just getting home after my experience volunteering in Australia at the Wild Animal Sanctuary project, and I am already looking forward to my next trip to the land Down Under! As a pre-veterinary student, I am intrigued by wildlife medicine, husbandry, rescue, rehabilitation, and release. As an animal-lover, I am just captivated by Australia’s unique wildlife. When I found this program, I was overjoyed; it was perfect! I signed up right away for a 3-week project.
My volunteer experience began with a “big picture” orientation week. We toured picturesque Port Stephens and exciting, metropolitan Sydney, enjoyed delicious Australian and international cuisine, met a ton of new friends, and got into the rhythm of Australian life. Invigorated by the week-long holiday, my two project-mates and I flew down to Melbourne to start working with wildlife! Working with Michele at the center was eye-opening.
Many of the animals that this project works with have been injured or orphaned in road accidents, which are increasingly common due to increased travel and habitat fragmentation. Though possums and perching birds are the most common residents at the center, Michele and her network of other local rehab centers will help all kinds of Australian wildlife, from koalas and kangaroos to lizards, penguins, and flying foxes.
Over the course of the two weeks with Michele, we fed and cleaned the animals in care and cut branches for the possums to eat each day, accompanied Michele to the vet and on rescues, installed a sprinkler system and built a 3-section aviary, and even released a few of the animals that were ready to go. I loved every moment of work at the rehab center, and I learned so much over the course of 21 amazing days in Australia!