Maldives Whale Shark Conservation

The Great Projects  »  Maldives Whale Shark Conservation

Maldives Whale Shark Conservation

from £1,570
Duration: from 2 weeks to 4 weeks
Countries: Maldives
Assist with vital marine research of the world’s largest fish - the magnificent whale shark - in one of the most stunning marine environments on earth.

Maldives Whale Shark Conservation

Situated in the stunning island archipelago of the Maldives, this is a fantastic once in a lifetime experience offering volunteers the chance to get up close and personal with the world's largest fish - the beautiful whale shark.

Formed in conjunction with a non-profit chairty - the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme - this project offers volunteers the chance to “conduct whale shark research and whale shark conservation and foster community-focused initiatives throughout the Maldives region”.

Volunteers here will spend much of their time out at sea, keeping their eyes peeled for the distinctive shapes of these graceful giants. Once spotted, volunteers will then get the chance to enter the water with these incredible creatures, measuring the sharks from head to tail and recording data via photo ID and written logs. The South Ari Atoll is one of very few in the world to boast a year round population of whale sharks, and you will most likely begin to start recognising them! What's more, you will also get the chance to see some of the other famous marine inhabitants of the Maldives - including graceful manta rays, turtles and whitetip reef sharks.

Another integral aspect to this volunteer programme is the community outreach programmes that it promotes. You will be able to spend every day of your time here talking with and working alongside the local community, learning from their experiences and helping to promote the importance of whale shark conservation.

Start Dates are every other Sunday of each month. 


Day 1

Arrival into Male's Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (preferably in the early morning or early afternoon to make the transfer). From here there is a domestic flight to Maamigili Island. Upon arrival at Maagmigili, volunteers are met by staff from the project accommodation, and then accompanied via speedboat to Dhigurah Island.

Day 2-6

After an initial briefing on the first day, project work begins. Volunteers head out to sea keeping their eyes peeled for the world’s biggest fish! Activities will depend on the day and on weather conditions out at sea. On day 6(Fridays) volunteers are free from midday onwards.  

Day 7

Today is a day off from project work, and there are the options to scuba dive or snorkel out on Dhigurah Island, or just kick back and relax!

Day 8-13

After a day off these next 6 days are spent with you continuing with the project work. Marine research of whale sharks will remain a key part of the work during this period - plenty more time in the water with these gentle giants then!

Day 14

Unfortunately, today is your final day on this incredible once in a lifetime experience. Volunteers will fly back to Male in order to catch their return flight home or continue with onward travel. 

Project Activities

On this project, you will get the chance to take part in a wide variety of exciting activities. Below are examples of some of those included in this project.

Marine Research
This is the principle activity volunteers will be involved in. You will be able to spend all day out at sea trying to spot inconspicuous shapes of the graceful whale shark. You will also log any sightings of other marine animals including turtles, dolphins, reef sharks and even manta rays!

When the whale shark is spotted you will be able to get into the water diving with whale sharks to take photos, measure and sex these fascinating creatures.

Data Entry
You will need to collate all of the collected data and Maldives whale shark encounters that are logged whilst out at sea. After this data has been extrapolated, you will then input this into an extensive database which will help to log and identify the individual sharks.

Local Community Work
Your role whilst on Dhigurah Island, aside from helping to identify the individual whale sharks, is also to improve the local communities' knowledge and understanding of these beautiful creatures and the marine protected area in which they reside.

Scuba Diving
As a volunteer on this project, there will be a chance to explore surroundings and involved in a range of activities offered which include scuba diving and snorkelling.

Please note that these activities will NOT be included within the price of the project. Scuba diving in the Maldives is around U$100 per dive, so make sure that you have enough funds to cover this should you want to dive.

Beach Clean-Ups
Rubbish is a major problem in the Maldives, so volunteers will be involved with regular beach sweeps. This makes a big difference to everybody on the island, so there will often be half day beach cleans.

Interested in this; ready to enquire?

Apply now by clicking the button below and filling out the application form on The Great Projects should then be in touch shortly to help with your enquiry.


Further Details

More information about this gap year opportunity...

Price details:

from £1,570

What's included?

• Accommodation
• Three Meals Per Day
• Daily Return Boat Transfers to and from the project site
• All project activities

What's not included?

• International and Domestic Flights (these cost around £180 return and are around 25 minutes each way – please note that this is subject to change).
• Travel Insurance (though this can be provided for you by us and Endsleigh insurance at a cost of £8.96)
• Soft Drinks and Extra Snacks
• Any extra activities undertaken on your days off (for example scuba diving which is around U$100 per dive).


A thirty day free visa is issued on arrival to all nationalities, provided that they:
• Possess a valid passport (with six months validity left and room for a stamp)
• Have a valid onward flight ticket to leave the Maldives
• Have enough funds to cover expenses for the duration of the stay or a confirmation of accommodation reservations.
If staying for longer than thirty days, a tourist visa may be renewed (up to a maximum of 90 days) if you apply to immigration before the expiration of the visa already granted. An extension can only be applied through the Visa Extension Application Form at the head office in the capital Male during official working hours. A visa fee of 750 Rufiyaa (around £30) will be charged for the full extension (30 days free + 60 days chargeable). No visa fee will be charged if the extension does not exceed 30 days.

Are there any specific skills needed to join this project?

This project involves a lot of open ocean swimming, so you will have to be fit enough (and a strong enough swimmer) to cope with this! Those that struggle with swimming are not advised to join this project - we advise that you must be able to swim around 200 metres comfortably in order to join this project. You will also be diving with whale sharks on this project so you must be comfortable holding your breath underwater.

About The Great Projects

Here at The Great Projects we believe that there is a better way to holiday. Our award winning wildlife volunteer projects and signature tours present you with a truly life changing experience alongside the chance help animal conservation efforts all around the world. Whether you want to work with Orangutans in Borneo, Cheetahs in Namibia, or Tigers in India, we have the perfect project for everyone, and with donations made for each trip, your travel with have a lasting impact on local wildlife and the communities living alongside it.

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