Whale Shark Research Project

Our mission is to facilitate conservation through the highest level of scientific research, education, and to promote the sustainable use of Mexico’s natural resources both species and habitat, providing opportunities at a international and national level ensuring the protection of the countries fragile marine ecosystem for future generations. 

Whale Shark Research Project is a nonprofit organization established in Baja California, Mexico, that is solely committed to conservation, elite scientific research, education and the community based support and direct public awareness for the protection of Whale Sharks in this region. We operate in conjunction and with the support of our affiliated organizations both Non-Profit and Eco-Concise, to generate a much broader understanding of this Vulnerable charismatic species.

This part of the world is one of only a handful of localities globally where any research team can monitor aggregations of juvenile whale sharks, large pregnant female whale sharks and a variety of vulnerable species of rays and cetaceans. This biodiversity offers an outstanding global hot spot for students to interlock both personal research goals and gain valuable marine experience. The Whale Shark Research Project is proud to be responsible for our permanent monitoring program documenting the species distribution, abundance and the up most advanced scientific research on the species in this region

 

Whale Shark Monitoring Programs

We are looking for diverse, motivated and hard-working volunteers who are passionate about conservation, interested in the field monitoring of whale sharks and an opportunity to gain unique experience that will provide valuable skills for a career in marine conservation.

What will you learn as a volunteer at WSRP?

Photo identification survey methods of whale sharks, community outreach and environmental education regarding whale sharks in Mexico, up to date and modern scientific monitoring of the a marine species (genetic sampling, scar analysis etc), environmental monitoring (sea conditions, factor influencing abundance, profiling, Plankton sampling), advanced stereo photogrammetry camera techniques, guiding experience, environmental problem solving skills, communication skills in the field, a honest real life experience of how a whale shark monitoring program works at a Non-Profit level and a valid understanding of research produces and goal setting, and of course so much more….

What is included in the WSRP project cost?

Pick up on arrival to Mexico, accommodation for the duration of the chosen volunteer opportunity, full working kitchen with up to date utilities, a comprehensive series of lectures given by our scientific team covering all aspects of whale shark conservation (biology, scientific research, photo identification, stereo photogrammetry, species threats and conservation management globally and at a national level), training in field based scientific monitoring, boat expenses and private captain, experience in marine conservation with us and our affiliated partners and there projects (turtle monitoring, beach clean ups, habitat monitoring) which can be used to aid in developing your career in conservation or used as possible points for university courses. Plus a number of discounted SCUBA diving courses, Free diving training and First response certification. 

What is expected of a volunteer during the WSRP program?

Our Whale shark volunteer opportunities require a full time commitment from our volunteers.  Your involvement with the program will require appox. 8 hours a day, five to six days a week.  Volunteers should also expect to be involved with out of hours events and should be willing to lend a hand wherever necessary. Volunteers at all times must respect local cultures and remember that they represent the Whale shark Research Project during their involvement. During the course of the volunteer opportunity participants will not be able to seek external employment.  

WSRP volunteer opportunity dates:

Our Whale shark monitoring opportunities are scheduled throughout the year and duration is dependent on the intensity of the research agenda. Our most extensive volunteer opportunities come under our “Internship Program” which are available in two separate blocks from October through till March. These offer a full comprehensive long-term volunteer experience, predominantly monitoring the juvenile population of sharks in and around La Paz Bay area.  This internship is ideal for the first time volunteer & experienced individuals that wish to gain valuable experience in the field and an understanding of marine conservation in a working Non-Profit Organization. Alternatively, throughout this 6month period we offer shorter volunteer opportunities for interested people, which can be adjusted to suit personal availability and commitment level. 

Finally, we offer volunteer opportunities between May and July focusing directly on the mature population of pregnant females in Mexican waters, which aggregate around Espritus Island & Gorda Banks just of Los Cabos. This monitoring project specifically aims to monitor the adult sharks and these rich areas are one of only a handful of places globally where these mature sharks can be seen annually. These intensive monitoring programs are designed for the more physically hardened individual who enjoys volunteering and is willing to push them self to the highest level of scientific research and can withstand much longer days at sea. 

What is NOT included in the cost of the WSRP program?

  • Flights & Insurance
  • Food (But a full working kitchen with up to date utilities is provided)
  • Leisure activities on days off

Eligibility:

  • Minimum age: 18.  Maximum age: no maximum age, but all volunteers must be physically fit enough to carry out all activities.
  • Participants must be motivated and enthusiastic about conservation of the natural environment, passionate about the ocean and should have an interest in biological studies.
  • Preferably with relevant experience and/or studying marine biology, conservation, environmental studies or related field, but not essential.
  • Ability to work in tropical conditions; hot and humid climate with mosquitos and sand flies.
  • Must be a confident swimmer with capable snorkeling ability.
  • Comfortable at sea and working on boats.  No experience necessary but if you suffer from extreme seasickness maybe this is not the right project for you.
  • Interpersonal skills, initiative, enthusiasm and the ability to work within a team are essential.
  • Personal insurance.  All volunteers must have their own insurance, and documented evidence must be provided to the Whale shark Research Project upon arrival.

Contact / Enquiry

Enquiry


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