Whale Shark conservation
Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute (LAMAVE) (3)
Whale shark conservation
in-water surveys (snorkel/free diving)
Weekly cost (approx USD):
Direct benefits you gain:
field research skills
remote scenic location
Noteworthy conservation points:
publishes peer-reviewed science
The project house is a communal, shared living space. There is a kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, a communal space and an outside area for relaxing. Beds are within shared bedrooms and each volunteer will be given space for their personal items
When does the project run?
accommodation included, food included, refillable drinking water, no wifi
How long can I stay?
At least 21 years old
Minimum commitment of 3 months
Proficiency in English & computer skills
Excellent swimming/snorkelling skills and ability to free-dive to 10m
Physically fit enough to spend several hours a day on a boat and/or in the water, frequently in rough conditions and current
Ability to live closely with a small community and respect their culture
Able to work independently and as part of a team
Comfortable living in a shared home and in a remote setting with extremely basic amenities
Strong work ethic with a willingness to work long and sometimes irregular hours if necessary
A degree in marine science, zoology, environmental sciences or related subjects are preferred
Strong interest in marine biology, research and conservation
Details of the day-to-day life on the project:
Minimum stay at project of 4 months
Following an exploratory trip in 2012 to confirm the presence of whale sharks in Panaon Island, LAMAVE decided to set up a base in Pintuyan in February 2013. Since then, our team has conducted annual research and conservation work during the whale shark season. The seasons run from November to July and are highly dictated by the southwest monsoon. The core elements of LAMAVEs research include monitoring the presence of whale sharks, as well as conducting in-water behavioural surveys and tourist compliance surveys in the area. We also work closely with the local community by conducting capacity building activities and encouraging sustainable practices.
The team work a 6-day week, with one day off a week. The survey work is run on a rotation basis, so a general week will be a mixture of in-water and on-land days. An average day starts at 7am and work generally finished by 6pm, or once tasks are complete. Weather dependent, you will be in the water 2-3 days and on land 3 days a week. During an average survey day you will conduct in-water surveys and collect photo-identification data of whale sharks. Researchers join tourist boat visiting the area, and thus surveys are limited by weather and frequency of visiting tourist boats. Depending on research priorities some dedicated LAMAVE surveys may be organised. Volunteers must be strong swimmers and feel comfortable swimming in the ocean for prolonged periods of time. Surveys generally last for 3-4 hours, during which local guides and spotters will look for whale shark sightings, and on locating a whale shark, researchers will enter the water with tourists.
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