In Cuba there are approximately 30 000 caves, and around 30 species of bats. We need citizen scientists to help study them!
When people think of the Caribbean, vacation getaway comes to mind. Varadero, a peninsula located on the north side of Cuba, is a popular tourist destination, with its warm climate and 18 kilometers of sandy beaches. Tourism has been very important for the economics of Cuba, but has also resulted in habitat destruction, and hotel development. Many animals are affected by this loss of habitat, including several species of bats. Our partner organization in Cuba focuses its scientific work on bat conservation and needs your help.
In Cuba there are approximately 30 000 caves, and around 30 species of bats. Varahicacos is the protected ecological reserve open for ecotourism on Varadero. The few caves here are home to the 5 species of bats of Varadero. Our partner is involved in several scientific studies of the bats to better understand their numbers, distribution, behaviour and biology and how the bat populations are affected by habitat loss, drought, disease and other stressors. Field research is conducted at the caves in Varadero, along with a few others in the province of Matanzas. Bats are captured in nets, examined, tagged and measured before being released. Working on an ecological reserve also provides the opportunity to educate the public about bats, and wildlife conservation.
We work in the daylight hours because bats are still active in the dark caves. We spend our times in a few different National parks setting up nets and traps-- all humane. Lunch is generally eaten by our field sites and bountiful with fresh fruit from the gardens! Our volunteers come home for dinner and sunsets along the beach and experience all the beauty that Cuba has to offer. There is opportunity for educational presentations when tourists see we are part of a conservation group and the villagers always want to chat about how much they love bats. This is true community conservation at it's roots.
Our volunteers have access to the beautiful Cuban beach for sports, swimming, diving and boating. There is also dancing, site seeing and of course munching on Cuban food!! Scheduled and non scheduled activities makes this experience a one of a kind!
airport pick up as a group on the first day of volunteering.
You will be staying in the home of a local Cuban family. Accommodation is simple but clean and includes meals. Lunches, and some dinners, will be provided while at the field research sites. AEI believes that home stays offer you the best experience during your time in Cuba by allowing you to save money, while providing you with an easy way to integrate into Cuba culture.
Any food you could want are available. Living with families means you will be eating Cuban and North American food.