In the Tropics
Aimee: So Paul, what’s most memorable job experience that you have?
Paul: Hmm, well, I think the most memorable one is the volunteering time that I spent in Australia. And I was up in the northeastern corner where there’s a relatively small rainforests. And I was helping with a research station that’s located in the rainforest. So we do a range of different things, going from trying to control coconuts—coconut trees.
Paul: Yeah, because, like, believe it or not, you imagine this kind of tropical paradise to have coconut trees but they’re actually very invasive and they’re not native to that area. And basically, if you let a population of coconut trees to go out of control, nothing else can grow.
They drop their fronds, and they drop, obviously the coconuts, and nothing else can grow. So you basically lose a lot of the native species there. So we’re trying to keep them under control. There was also caring for bats that had been orphaned. Sometimes they’re born with physical disabilities that mean they can’t survive in the wild.
Aimee: Like a sanctuary then?
Paul: Yes. Just like a sanctuary, yeah. So they take care of—
Aimee: What size of bats, like any other—
Paul: Fruit bats.
Aimee: What size are they?
Paul: They’re pretty, like, once they spread—they’re like little monkeys with big wings.
Aimee: Yeah. So what’s their wing span then?About?
Paul: Let’s say, maybe, I guess up to probably 4 feet. Does that sound too much?
Aimee: So about a meter?
Paul: Yeah. Some of the big dudes, they got huge wingspan.
Aimee: Oh, the only bats I’ve seen in real life are really tiny. They’re just like mice.
Paul: Oh, the micro-bats.
Aimee: They’re like little birds, you know. You see them flying around and you think, “Oh that’s birds.” No, they’re bats. So these guys sound pretty big.
Paul: Hmm, but they’re completely like omnivorous. They only eat fruit, so like, they really—
Aimee: Do they eat the coconuts?
Paul: Well, the coconuts are kind of tough for them to get into. You need to be able to make a hole, I suppose, to get that.
Aimee: Of course, yeah.
Paul: But they eat all, mostly like fleshy fruits; apples or whatever they can get really—berries. They’re really important for spreading—because obviously they eat the flesh of the fruit but they don’t eat the seeds. So they just kind of pass through them and they’re really useful for dispersing seeds. So rainforest regeneration, they’re very important animals.
Aimee: So they’re like the big bumble bees of the rainforest, then.
Paul: Yeah. I guess you could look at it like that, yeah. So yeah, that was an interesting volunteering kind of odd job that I had, I suppose.
Aimee: Yeah. Essentially yet really cool.
Paul: I really like to go back there someday.
They’re actually very invasive.
Something invasive destroys native life in its new habitat. Notice the following:
- Rabbits became invasive in New Zealand.
- The ivy is invasive and now covers everything.
out of control
The coconut trees got out of control; nothing else can grow.
When something is out of control, it cannot be controlled. Notice the following:
- Sometimes my class gets out of control.
- The air pollution situation is out of control.
So you basically lose a lot of the native species there.
Something native is naturally from that place. Notice the following:
- Redwood trees are native to California.
- This plant is not native to the area.
So we’re trying to keep them under control.
When something is under control, it can be managed or controlled effectively. Notice the following:
- With medicine, he got his illness under control.
- The police have the situation under control.
Like a sanctuary then.
A sanctuary is a place that is protected from outside danger. Notice the following:
- There is no hunting in the animal sanctuary.
- My car is my sanctuary after a stressful day.
They got huge wingspan.
The span of something, is the length from one end to the other. Notice the following:
- The wingspan on that jet is 50 meters.
- The average lifespan is 75 years.
under control • sanctuary • wingspan