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 my 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?
Volunteers can expect to join tourist whale watching boats 3 times a week. After your initial training, your role will cover three equally important areas:
You will be on whale watching boats, undertaking important observation and monitoring work. Here you will be taking photographs of the whales in order to help grow the catalogue of whales in the area - a good quality camera is essential for you to bring for this work! This enables us to improve our knowledge of family and community groups, and whether the population is expanding or not. You will also be observing behavior and recording it, to determine if behaviour is dependent on group size as well as monitoring the impact of the whale watching industry on the cetaceans.
You will act as a guide on the whale watching boats and interact with the tourists on board, raising awareness about the resident cetacean population as well as the migratory species they can expect to see at that time of year. You will supplement the work of the boat guides, perhaps helping out with English translations. This is crucial as with this education they can inform others and so the knowledge spreads and can help improve conservation attitudes globally.
Up to twice a week you will go on coastal expeditions in search of dolphins feeding around the fish farms. From a high point on mountains or cliffs, you will use binoculars to scan for dolphins and any passing whales. You will learn how to calculate the distance to the animals and record their geographic position. Throughout the survey you will take notes of observed species, group size and their behaviour, as well as recording the boats present in the area, and their impact on the dolphin behaviour.
After each survey, back at the volunteer house you will enter the collected data into the research databases. You will be taught how to correctly prepare digital photos of the whales and dolphins for subsequent identification, and learn how to match these using the catalogue of known individuals. If you are willing to get stuck in and engross yourself in the valuable work of contributing to these charismatic and enchanting species, then this project is perfect for you.
What Next? Apply Now!