International Volunteer, Joanne Malotaux Joins NFMV

International volunteer, Joanne Malotaux, joins the NFMV team to assist with bat surveys on Taveuni, Vanua Levu and Viti Levu.

Young and enthusiastic volunteer, Joanne Malotaux, from the Netherlands has become the first international visitor to the NatureFiji office this year.

She is a young Masters student who intends to devote part of her research to the Fiji bats found on Vanua Levu, Taveuni and Viti Levu.

She will be working closely with Kelera Macedru, who has previously surveyed all the caves on Taveuni Island for cave dwelling bat colonies. Joanne will be investigating the biological and ecological aspects of the bat colonies within the Wailotua Cave system, the Nakanacagi Cave, as well as Tavuyaga and Waitabu caves on Taveuni Island.

These bat surveys are partially funded by the Australian Tropical Research Foundation (AUSTROP), through our collaboration with Dr. Hugh Spencer, a field biologist and one of the directors of AUSTROP.

Joanne Malotaux at the NFMV office.
Joanne Malotaux at the NFMV office.

After finishing high school Joanne was not quite sure what she wanted to study, and after working in an office for a year, decided that this was not for her and went onto to study Biology. After finishing her Bachelors degree, she went abroad for half a year, doing a course in Tropical Biology in South Africa, then travelling and volunteering in Australia.

Joanne enjoying her first bat cave visit in Fiji; Wailotua, Tailevu
Joanne enjoying her first bat cave visit in Fiji; Wailotua, Tailevu

When she came back to the Netherlands, Joanne enrolled in a Masters programme in ‘Forest and Nature Conservation’. As a part of this study programme, she is completing an internship at NFMV, working on the AUSTROP-funded bat surveys.

In her words:

“I’m eager to learn more about bat ecology whilst at the same time contributing to the conservation of Fiji’s bat fauna”.

From the NFMV team, we wish you all the best in your internship and degree studies Joanne.