Marine Conservation in Mozambique
As a volunteer on this unique project, you directly contribute to the marine conservation project and activities of the Marine Megafauna Foundation and work together with its world renowned scientists in the field of the ocean giants - manta rays and whale sharks. This exciting program has been designed and will be monitored (whether on-site or remotely via Skype conference) by the world-renowned ‘Manta Queen’, Dr. Andrea Marshall.
Whether Dr. Marshall is on site during your stay or not, you will always remain under the guidance of a highly qualified and experienced Research and Volunteer Coordinator and you will also have continuous access to other marine biologists, who will always be available to answer any queries that you may have about any aspect of the project. Volunteers will be involved in all of the Marine Megafauna Foundation’s programmes. This will involve assessing the health of populations of manta rays, whale sharks, marine turtles (including critically endangered leatherbacks), dugongs and even humpback whales (during the winter months).
Please note that itineraries are subject to change and what follows is only a rough guideline. In general, week days are working days from 7.30 till 15.30 and weekends are off and spent however you please. However, occasional weekend work will be required during major events such as beach clean-ups, whale shark feeding frenzies or turtle beaching – but we promise, it will be worth it.
Day 1: Arrival into Tofo via Inhambane Airport (only 22kms away). A project representative will meet you and will transport you to your accommodation. Don’t worry – the airport is tiny so you won’t get lost!
Days 2 and 3: After your arrival you will receive a two day period of introduction and training by your research and volunteer coordinator. For non- divers, you will start with a recognised PADI open water scuba course with partnering dive company Peri-Peri Divers (costs are already included within the programme). This will take you between 4 and 7 days depending on the weather and sea conditions. Note that if you are already an Advanced Open Water qualified diver, you will start your research programme immediately. If you are only Open Water Qualified, you will complete your Advanced Open Water Course.
Days 4:: Even though you will work 5 days a week, there will be sufficient free time during the day to explore and enjoy everything Tofo has to offer. The aim of the programme, unlike many other volunteer projects, is to only have our volunteers partake in scientific activities that will contribute to real science - not to just do mundane chores to fill time.
Last Day: You will be transferred back to Inhambane Airport for your onwards flight or you will commence your onwards travel plans.
Manta Ray Work
This will include photo ID-ing the reef and giant mantas (up to 9 metres across!) as you see them, laser measuring individuals, watching and assisting scientists in taking biological samples, as well as uploading identification pictures to relevant databases and record re-sightings on mantamatcher.org.
Whale Shark Work
The area immediately off Tofo is a global hotspot for the world’s largest fish, with over 620 of these gentle giants identified within Mozambican waters. You will actively help in whale shark research by: Training in whale shark photo ID-ing and watching the process of tagging and tissue sampling, Gathering information on GPS location, segregation, sex, behaviour and specific characteristics such as scarring, Taking underwater pictures of the personal “fingerprints” of whale sharks, Uploading pictures to databases and recording re-sightings, Contribute to the analysis of this scientific data in close collaboration with the Marine Megafauna Foundation.
Humpback Whale Monitoring
Humpback whales make annual journeys from Antarctica to as far north as Tanzania to mate and calve. During the winter months (June to September), many humpback whales are sighted in and around the waters of Tofo. You will help assess the populations and health of the animals by conducting both beach and boat monitoring and recording the data into the world humpback whale database.
From the months of November to February, you will contribute to the collection of data from three of the turtle species found here (loggerhead, hawksbill and the critically endangered leatherback). This will involve monitoring the landing of turtles, taking GPS data on their nesting sites to gather information on poaching, monitoring the success of nesting and photo ID-ing the specimens as you see them.
Coral Reef Health Work
Coral reef and estuary monitoring involves data collection on an array of reef fish species and the cover of coral on reefs. You will assist by:Recording indicator species by making reef transects, Making timed counts of the numbers of each indicator species and Filling in identification logs of an array of species.
Analysing Other Marine Life
In addition to collecting data on whale sharks, manta rays, turtles and humpback whales (in season), you will also gather valuable information on other threatened species of megafauna within the area. This will include conducting surveys on dugongs, dolphins, bowmouth guitar sharks and the small eyed stingray – the largest marine stingray in the world.
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.