Whale Shark conservation

Project name:

Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute (LAMAVE) (6)

Project purpose:

Whale shark conservation

Project activities:

  • community awareness

  • data collection/analysis

  • in-water surveys (snorkel/free diving)

Marine

Philippines (Palawan)

South-East Asia

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Weekly cost (approx USD):

$

112

Direct benefits you gain:

  • field research skills

  • remote scenic location

Noteworthy conservation points:

  • ​ publishes peer-reviewed science

Accommodation:

The project house is a communal, shared living space. There is a kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, a communal space and an outside porch with a table and chairs for relaxing. Beds are within shared bedrooms, usually two separate beds per bedroom as the bedroom space is small, and each volunteer will be given a storage container for their personal items

Requirements:

  • At least 21 years old

  • Minimum commitment of 3.5 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

Facilities:

accommodation included, food included, poor wifi, local shops and nearby facilities, fan in bedroom

Details of the day-to-day life on the project:

This project has a minimum volunteer duration of 3.5 months

The Puerto Princesa whale shark project works out of Honday Bay in Puerto Princesa, Palawan with the objective of assessing the seasonal distribution of whale sharks in the area. Our goal is to identify individual whale sharks and their movement in the area using non-invasive methods such as photo identification and GPS tracking. We hope to gain an overview and a better understanding of the presence and ecology of whale sharks visiting Honday Bay in order to assist in their conservation by working with local government units and the local comunity. This could be in the form of an advisory role for potential conservation laws as Palawan has a separate and indipendent governing body for natural resource management from the entire Philippines (Palawan Council fo Sustainable Development) or sharing our work and best management practices at Information Education Communication events at local schools/barangay meetings. Some questions we would like to address are whether the whale sharks visit the bay because of the presence of a particular type of prey or are opportunistically feeding on different prey species, whether these individuals have been sighted in other project sites within the Philippines and/or internationally via satellite tagging, abundance of whale sharks per season, and human-shark interactions that can affect the rising whale shark tourism industry within he area. This is accomplished by conducting randomised surveys around the bay on both a pumpboat and on board the local tourist boat.

Day to day life

The team work a 6-day week, with one day off a week. Days off are on a rotation schedule. An average day starts at 6:00AM and work generally finished by 3:00PM, or once tasks are complete. Weather dependent, you will be in the water 4-5 days and on land 1-2 days a week. During an average day you will conduct in-water surveys, meaning you will be in the water for approximately 2-3 hours a day. Volunteers must be strong swimmers and feel comfortable swimming in the ocean for prolonged periods of time

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