Travel log 12: “Service” by Kirsten Fraser. Currumbin, Australia

I decided to volunteer at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. However, due to my schedule and their availability I was not able to actually volunteer. Instead I interviewed one of the volunteers. She informed me that this sanctuary helps to rehabilitate injured animals and to educate the public on the various animals home to Australia. The usual volunteer contributes $15 and is able to volunteer from 7 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon. One can volunteer in the mammal, bird, koala or reptile exhibit or at the presentation, wild experience or even be a sheep-shearing assistant. The woman I interviewed volunteered in the bird exhibit and was responsible for keeping the enclosure clean and helping to educate the visitors. She knew quite a lot about the various birds in the enclosure as she volunteered here every Sunday. I absolutely loved the sanctuary. We had previously visited a zoo in Bali that was quite opposite to the experience I had that day. At the zoo in Bali, the animals were placed in cages and pools too small for them, the animals exhibited signs of distress, while others were chained or had their mouths taped shut. I was so sad to see animals treated this way and was upset I supported the funding of this treatment. However, I was quite delighted to support the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. The animals had plenty of space to run and play and I did not see one animal that exhibited signs of distress. The sanctuary also serves as an animal hospital for the injured and sick.

I think there are many benefits of volunteering while abroad. I think one should give back to any community they is a part of, even if they are only part of that community for a short time. Service work relates to our class definition of global community, which we defined as all people around the world living by and fighting for similar social values and basic rights. Volunteering helps fight for the rights of the under privileged which can also include animals. Animals deserve basic rights just as humans do. This sanctuary fights for these rights and helps to provide their animals with such liberties. Since I was not able to volunteer I donated to the sanctuary to help support their amazing work with the animals of Australia.

After this experience I will be sure to research every zoo I go to before I attend. I do not wish to contribute to organizations that treat their animals with disrespect and cause them to live in constant fear and distress. At the zoo we visited in Bali, a turtle my friend was holding started to flap its arms repeatedly almost as if it was trying to wiggle free. The man who was showing us around pinched the turtle’s neck in order to make it stop. It was one of the saddest things I ever saw and I do not wish to contribute to any organization that treats their animals in this way. However, at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary they treat their animals with respect and provide them with medical care when they are wounded. They do not force their animals to “perform” for their visitors; if an animal does not wish to interact with someone they do not have to. It impacted me as an individual as it showed me how cruel many animals can be treated; I had often heard horror stories but I had never seen it with my own eyes. At Currumbin some animals have even been brought in from other zoos where they have been mistreated. After my experience in Bali and then at Currumbin I want to help fight for animal rights and help animals escape the harsh treatment many of then undergo. The picture below was taken during my time at the sanctuary before my interview. The animals were not fearful of humans how they were in Bali; however, they were quite friendly and gentle. I truly enjoyed my time playing with the animals and interviewing those who volunteer here.



One thought on “Travel log 12: “Service” by Kirsten Fraser. Currumbin, Australia

  1. Hey Kirsten,
    That’s such a cool experience. I would love to work with animals around here. Sadly the only animal in abundance around here is the pigeon haha. Reading about the turtle your friend was holding that the zoo keeper pinched made me sad. I really like the idea of doing research before visiting zoos and other sanctuaries. I remember when I was a kid, all I wanted to do was go to Tiger Temple in Thailand and pet the tigers. Once i got older I realized the terrible things they do to the tigers to make them cooperate. So many people are oblivious to this mistreatment, or just don’t care. I am happy to say that they shut down Tiger Temple though. Hopefully this trend continues so that we are left only with places that treat the animals properly.
    Miss you!


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