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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Find out more by filling out the form below and clicking send. The Great Projects should then be in touch shortly to help with your enquiry.