WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
Whales and dolphins are a natural resource in the Canary Islands, as is highlighted by the presence on more than 84 whale watching boats in the Islands, and about 500,000 whale watching tourists every year. Whales and dolphins are both beautiful species and have been around for millions of years so it is of extreme importance for humans to conserve and respect these creatures.
Currently, the whales and dolphins face a number of threats including habitat degradation, injury from ships and commercial fishing equipment, prey depletion caused by overfishing, and noise and health effects resulting from increased in-water pollution rates.
There are still a number of populations that are resident and reproduce in the region, and so the protection of these magnificent creatures is paramount. We need volunteers to join the project who are committed to ensuring the conservation of a number of endangered cetacean species. The baseline data you collect will contribute towards the long-term management of the area and assist in promoting marine conservation in the wider region. So if you are a marine life enthusiast and want to contribute to the important work of conservationists in Tenerife, then this is the project for you!
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
After initial training and induction, volunteers will be taking part in three main project activities that combine to build Frontier’s conservation efforts in Tenerife. These activities are:
1. Cetacean Surveys on local ethical whale watching boats where volunteers will collect data and photographs of the local populations of cetaceans. The data being collected includes population numbers and population health, interactions with other vessels and other animals, behaviour patterns, habitat conditions and effect on animals and fin identification. This information is then inputted into our database which supplements our knowledge of cetaceans and holds growing record of each individual on numerous species in Tenerife waters.
2. Community Outreach of the conservation efforts for cetaceans both in Tenerife and around the world by speaking to and informing tourists on the ethical whale watching boats, working with the local whale watching industry to inform and raise awareness of the issues threatening whales and dolphins in Tenerife, informing tourists and other interested parties of the impact of tourism on the wildlife and overall working towards ethical tourism in the area. We also carry out extensive beach cleans in multiple areas around Southern Tenerife, often in conjunction with other volunteer or tour organisations. This is an excellent opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment – fishing nets and rubbish are a critical threat to the marine life in this wildlife hotspot area. See previous media posts for turtles that have been rescued from fishing nets in the area – this is what we want to prevent!
3. Volunteers will also take part in Coastal Surveys in the local area to monitor boat and other vessel traffic, population numbers and behaviour, weather and environment conditions and impact, habitat health, fish farm activity, fish farm dependency by cetaceans and interactions between vessels and wildlife. This data helps to create a wider overall picture of the state of the whale and dolphin populations in Tenerife and the impact of tourism.
Frequency of these activities is dependent on season and volunteer numbers but every volunteer will get the chance to take part in each of these crucial activities that help to build a whale and dolphin-friendly Tenerife.
As we have formed partnerships with local ethical organisations, we must respect their procedures and act like the conservationists (not tourists!) we are. These activities contribute to Tenerife’s expanding knowledge of the whale and dolphin populations, informing tourists and industry members and build Frontier’s on going conservation efforts on the island.