Yes, she is named after Dolly’s Jolene, but you can’t expect non-native English speakers to get the spelling right all the time.
The common wisdom here is that you will fall in love with the first seals you properly look after, and Pyza and Nessy from Quarantine 2 will always be special to me, but the true queen of my heart is Joline.
Two days are dedicated to training in the quarantines, and thank god. These are self contained little rooms with a small pool, a kitchen, and a plateau, all of which can be gated off. This is Fase 1, where new arrivals and the sickest seals are.
In 2016 I joined the Limpopo Dwarf Mongoose Project as a Research Assistant. This is a long term behavioural study. Mongoosers (an informal title) work 6 days a week collecting data and carrying out experiments. The work is with habituated mongoose groups so you can really observe them closely. Dwarf mongooses are cooperatively breeding social mammals with loads of interesting behaviours and complex group structures.
For the sake of ease I have formatted this in the same way as previous reviews of volunteer experiences, but it was more like a job (without the payment aspect, I suppose).
Sophie is an MSci Zoology graduate who is soon off to work as a project manager in South Africa on the Dwarf Mongoose Project (where she was my wonderful roommate when we were research assistants!) – I’ll leave the rest for her to explain in her own words.
In June 2015 I joined the Ionian Dolphin Project (IDP) run by the Tethys Research Institute for a week. This is a long-term research project on the bottlenose dolphins in the Ambravikos Gulf and other dolphins and marine mammals in the waters around Kalamos.
Six years later, I might finally have the distance, age and experience to reflect on the turtle conservation project I joined for a month when I was 16. It’s safe to say I learned a lot, and equally safe to say not much of it was about turtles. It had the excellent effect of persuading me to study Zoology, but aside from that I think I would call it valuable for all the wrong reasons.
Disclaimer: A quick glance at the website suggests some major changes to this programme in the past 6 years, and my experience may not be at all reflective of the experiences of volunteers there today.
This is me! I’m a recent Zoology graduate currently working an office job in Bristol. Over the next year I have two volunteer positions confirmed – at a seal rescue and rehabilitation centre in the Netherlands, and a sea turtle research project in Costa Rica.