March 2015 Introductory Training Course
This was my first time participating in an AJWCEF training course. I was the only one in the course from my university and at first I felt nervous about spending two weeks overseas with people I had never met before. However, everyone had a mutual love and interest in animals so through living together and doing housework together we all soon became friends over time. When my initial nerves changed to peace of mind, I began to enjoy every day as we spent our nights figuring out together what to cook, where to go in our free time and what to make for lunch the next day.
Also, the staff and locals didn’t only talk about their work; they joined us at outings and parties as well as interacting with us in a very friendly manner, which meant the 2-week course was full of great memories.
In terms of study, we were able to experience things that could only be done on this course such as checking the vitals and observing the behavior of wildlife as well as the process of food preparation through to feeding the animals. There was a lot to get out of this program as we interacted with the animals, noticed their individual characteristics, learnt about their ecology and learnt things from the rangers that only they knew from observing the animals daily. As a result of participating in this course and the various experiences it provides, it became clear to me what I want to do with my life. Anyone who is unsure or lost about what to do in the future, you will find something by participating in this course.
This course was not only about admiring wildlife, it also allowed me to experience up close the serious problems that Australian animals are currently facing, as well as the fine line between their life and death. It was a valuable experience to learn the current state of the living world. Some things may shock you but for those who have a strong will to learn about animals you will be able to overcome this without a problem. Therefore, I would definitely recommend you to participate in this training course and see for yourself.
(2nd Year, Miyazaki University ,Agriculture, Department of Animal and Grassland Sciences )
I learnt about the Australia-Japan Wildlife Conservation and Education Foundation when I was looking for activities that students could participate in that involved wildlife. Although it was only for 2 weeks, leaving my school and Japan to be able to experience a different culture, climate and ecosystem has become an unforgettable and cherished memory.
The one thing that surprised me most about life in Australia was that wildlife did not run away even if people were nearby. It seems that since the Australian people do not pay attention to the animals, the animals do not pay attention to them.
I was able to find out about this difference in custom and mindset. Also, by talking to the volunteers and staff at the facilities I felt the importance of taking an interest in the animals in one’s own country.
After the tour finished, I realized I want to learn more about the relationship between people and wildlife as well as the cultures and wildlife in different countries. I want to learn not only in the classroom but also by taking action, going around and seeing things firsthand with my own eyes. I am grateful to all the staff that I met and the friends I made with an interest in the same field. Thank you very much.
My goal is to have a career in wildlife conservation and participating in this training course was the first step on that path. Despite being unable to speak or understand any English, thanks to the other participants who I befriended and the help of the teachers, it was an enjoyable and fulfilling training course.
The first part of the training course took place at the David Fleay Wildlife Park where we helped the rangers and were able to learn about the ecology of Australia’s unique wildlife and how they are cared for and kept at the park. The rangers were really friendly and approachable so it was easy to ask them anything we were unsure of or had questions about.
The next part of the training course was at Moggill Koala Hospital where we observed the veterinarians using anatomical pathology (autopsy) and they explained the various problems occurring in wildlife. In the morning we helped the volunteers with some of the hospitalised koalas. We were able to hear from the volunteers about why they started volunteering and what their feelings were towards koalas.
We also went kayaking, saw wild koalas, bats and pelicans, as well as visiting an actual wildlife carer’s house and seeing how wildlife is cared for and specific adjustments made to the room to cater for the wildlife. In addition, we visited the University of Queensland and were shown what kind of environment local students were studying in.
On the free day we went shopping and had a good time at the beach. We had a party at our rental house with the rangers as well.
I am grateful from the bottom of my heart to everyone who made it possible for me to have such a meaningful experience the past 2 weeks. In particular my friends who worked through the training course with me every day, the teachers who taught us so much as well as the rangers and volunteers.
I hope to utilize this experience to pursue my future goals.