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Mediterranean Whale and Dolphin Conservation

Project name:

Oceanomare Delphis Onlus (ODO) - Ischia Dolphin Project

Project purpose:

The main goal of the project is the conservation of the habitat used by whales and dolphins, habitat which is always more corrupted and threatened by human activities. The Ischia Dolphin Project has also an educational purpose, with the goal to increase knowledge of the general public to meet the needs of conservation of cetaceans in the Mediterranean. Field courses are open to everybody who wish to share and work enthusiastically on the field. Anybody can participate. The project is almost exclusively supported by the financial contribution of project participants. The money you pay to participate in the program will be used to cover the project running costs. The financial contribution of project participants is essential to allow ODO study and conservation activities to continue.

Project activities:

  • community awareness

  • data collection/analysis

  • habitat restoration/management

Weekly cost (approx USD):

$

1200

Direct benefits you gain:

  • cultural integration

  • data/statistical skills

  • field research skills

  • gain a qualification and/or credit

  • remote scenic location

Noteworthy conservation points:

  • contributes to environmental policy

  • publishes peer-reviewed science

  • publishes work

Accommodation:

Shared accomodation on board of Jean Gab, the research vessel (historical wooden sailing boat of 17.70 m)

When does the project run?

May to September

Facilities:

accommodation included, cooking facilities, electricity, local shops, near-by medical, refillable drinking water, hot shower, western toilet.

How long can I stay?

Minimum 1 week

Requirements:

  • Good physical conditions, comfortable in hot weather and with spending relatively long periods under the sun

  • Be steady on your legs and comfortable on a boat.

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

Participants live on board of the research vessel Jean Gab that preferably navigates under sail. 
During your staying days will be almost entirely dedicated to the research activities and all participants will take part in the fieldwork. 

Every day, except for the arrival and the departure days, will be spent at sea. Survey tracks are laid out to provide a coverage of the study area, but might be adapted to prevailing weather conditions.

Participants will be asked to help researchers in the collection of data and sailing activities. They will rotate, together with the researchers, in watching shifts of one hour each during the whole navigation period until dolphins/whales are sighted. There are two observers on duty on every shift. 

Besides whales and dolphins, we record also the presence of sea turtles, tunas, swordfish, manta rays, large school of fish and sea birds. The acoustic system helps in the localization of the animals: the hydrophones detect any sound produced by cetaceans at an average distance of 3 nm and the software indicate the direction of the signal. It is then possible to approach the animals. 

In the evening, the boat go back to the harbour. Sometimes nights can be spent in a bay at the anchor or, for research reasons, out at sea.

Everybody have a role to play during sightings. A good teamwork is key to an enjoyable experience and a good data collection, such as filming dolphins with the underwater camera under the bow of the vessel, collecting behavioral data, recording sounds, filming and photographing the animals for their individual identification, and steering. A sighting can last several hours and in the meantime, normal duties on board such as cooking and washing dishes have to be carried out.

Please consider that we are looking for whales and dolphins in the wild, they are not always in the area and we cannot predict their moves, thus the encounters are not guaranteed.

Reviews & ratings

Adriano

Volunteer

Very Good Program

My week at Daktari was excellent and the program is very intense in the sense that we all get together with the kids and animals from 7am until 9 pm. It is an excellent choice for a first volunteering program abroad considering and I would definitely like to go back someday

Corinne

Intern

It was an experience that I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of

Wild Sun Rescue is an animal rehabilitation center located in the remote and scenic fishing village of Cabuya, Costa Rica. The long-term (12 week) volunteer experience involved getting to do hands-on work with all of the animals that are housed at the center, including howler monkeys, capuchins, opossums, squirrels and raptors. The daily duties included diet prep (mostly chopping and cooking fruits and veggies), enclosure cleaning, facility maintenance (repairing enclosures, building new enclosures and enrichment), and animal handling and medical treatment. It was an experience that I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of--nowhere else in the world would I be able to work with all of these amazing animals, in such a unique and beautiful location. As a wildlife biology intern, I also had the opportunity to create my own research project at the center, supervised and assisted by the internship coordinator.

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