Bottlenose Dolphin Conservation

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Bottlenose Dolphin Conservation

from £960
Duration: from 11 days to 25 days
Countries: Croatia
Play an important role in marine conservation by researching and observing bottlenose dolphins on the stunning northeast coast of the Adriatic sea.

Bottlenose Dolphin Conservation

Over the past five decades, the bottlenose dolphin population in the Adriatic Sea has declined by almost 50 percent. This is primarily due to the deliberate killings of these majestic marine animals in the 1960s when dolphins were perceived as pests. Though the practice is now illegal, a further decline is expected  mainly because of the rise in anthropogenic pressures, including activities such as overfishing.

In 2002, an organization was established in Slovenia to protect and conserve these remaining bottlenose dolphins. While its efforts began in Slovenia, the organization has since expanded into Croatia where researchers work tirelessly in order to aid conservation efforts and protect these animals. The research area, which is administered in part by Natura 2000 (an EU-wide network of nature protection areas), is an important feeding and calving ground for over 100 dolphins. They are the last constantly present marine mammals in the northeast Adriatic sea and play a vital role in reflecting the seas ecological state. Through the conduction of dolphin research in the region, researchers are able to understand the contributing factors influencing the local dolphin populations as well as enabling detailed eductaion for the local communities regarding preservation of the bottlenose dolphin. The organization is also focussed on preserving the overall marine environment in ordre to benefit all other marine life, including turtles and sharks, who regulate the ecological balance of the marine ecosystem.

As a volunteer on this exciting and worthwhile project you will be helping to protect the dolphin population living in this area. During the first few days, you will attend morning lectures on topics such as marine mammals and marine ecology as well as learn how to read and understand research data and actively help with dolphin conservation.  While on the project you may be involved in some of the following tasks:

  • Dolphin observation
  • Data analysis
  • Entering data directly into the catalogue, including observation notes
  • Educating the local public on dolphins and their importance for the entire marine ecosystem
  • Learning how to distinguish between dolphin species

Duting your time on the project you will volunteer for about 4-6 hours a day, for 8 days out of 11. Your days will begin at 9 a.m. with a briefing of daily tasks during breakfast.  After, you will analyze data from the previous day and enter the information into the main catalogue. In the early afternoon, you will depart for dolphin research and spend the rest of the day out at sea. Weather dependant you coul dbe out at sea as late as 20:30 p.m. following which you will return to the research base. In the evening, you will help cook a light dinner with the rest of the team after which you can choose to relax or particpate in social activties with the other volunteers.

If you are passionate about the ocean and all it has to offer, this project is the perfect opportunity for you to play a role in its conservation.

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Further Details

More information about this gap year opportunity...

Price details:

from £960

Travel Extras

There will be at least one organized excursion during your project placement. Before or after volunteering you may have the chance to visit Brijuni National Park or Kamenjak National Park. There may also be an opportunity to visit one of these famous touristic towns: Poreč, Pula, Rovinj or Motovun (a typical Istrian village that resembles villages in Tuscany).  In addition, there will be an organized walk under the stars on one night during your stay.

Lucky for you, Funtana is situated in an ideal geographical location as it only a few hours’ drive from most of the major European capitals. You can visit Venice, Dubrovnik (another Adriatic pearl town), Ljubljana (Slovenian capital) and Postojna cave (third biggest cave in the world). If you are interested in these particular adventures, you can ask your project coordinators upon arrival.

You are also free to organize your own activities, such as morning exercises on the terrace or running on the beautiful pathways next to the sea. There may also be a bike or two available for your use (depending on availability).


You will stay in an apartment with other volunteers. There are only two shared rooms available, with one to three volunteers per room. Both rooms have a beautiful view over the sea and an open access to the terrace. Each room is equipped with bunk beds and a sofa-chair. There is also an air conditioner with cooling and heating capabilities in the apartment along with a western-style bathroom. The apartment’s entrance extends to a spacious terrace overlooking the surrounding area, which is a great place to hang out. In addition, there is a common room with a TV and computers for your use and enjoyment.


3 meals a day are included (mostly vegetarian). There will also be one night of grilling (a dinner party), and regular visits to a nearby supermarket to purchase snacks and other items for individual needs.


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