Volunteer in Mozambique on the Marine, Whale Shark and Manta Ray Marine Conservation Project and help with hands-on whale shark research, coral reef monitoring, humpbacked whale monitoring and turtle nest surveys. Explore one of Africa’s best scuba diving destinations with a PADI or SSI Dive Course, which is included in the project (project to decide on the course).
The Marine, Whale Shark and Manta Ray Conservation Project involves gathering field data on whale sharks, coral reefs, manta rays and other marine biodiversity to make recommendations for improving the conservation of marine life as well as creating general awareness about the marine environment. In recent months the number of whale shark sitings has dropped and it is essential that the monitoring and conservation of marine habitats and wildlife continues to try to establish the cause of this change in behaviour. The project collaborates with the a number of international marine research bodies including the Ecocean global whale shark database.
Why choose this project?
Whale sharks are the oceans biggest fish and although they are sharks, are harmless to people since they feed on plankton. Whale sharks are a threatened species and are relatively easy to monitor owing to their size (up to 20m long) and swimming next to them is an awe inspiring experience. With recent sitings having dropped, very little being known about the population dynamics and threats to whale sharks your help is needed.
The coral reefs that so much marine life is dependant on are under threat of exploitation, bleaching, alien invasive species and other ecological changes associated with tourism and other human activities. One of the components of the project is to monitor the condition of coral reefs in the Tofo area using methods based on the international reef check program. This involves doing scuba diving transects along the reefs and recording coral cover and indicator species of fish in one of Africa’s best diving destinations.
Role of the Volunteer
As a volunteer on the Marine, Whale Shark and Manta Ray Conservation Project you will help carry out the marine research and monitoring activities for the project under the guidance of our project co-ordinator. You will join other volunteers on the project to collect the data via beach walks, boat surveys, swims and scuba dives off the coastline of Tofo in Mozambique. Volunteers are needed, not only to carry out the field activities, but also to help fund the project. For those of you who volunteer for 4 weeks or longer, you will have the opportunity to participate in a seahorse and biodiversity monitoring trip. You can expect an excellent diving, snorkelling and beach experience whilst gaining first hand marine research skills and contributing to a worthwhile project.
In order to carry out these activities you will need to be a capable swimmer (swim 100m unassisted), snorkel and it would be advantageous if you are able to hold your breath to dive down. In order to carry out these activities you will need to be capable of equalising your ear pressure and willing to learn to scuba dive. A four day internationally recognized open water diving course (PADI or SSI) is provided as part of this project to train you to be able to carry out this coral reef monitoring. If you already have this qualification you may do an advanced open water diving course instead or an equivalent number of extra research dives. Beginner divers need to volunteer for a minimum of 3 weeks to maximise their time spent on conservation volunteer activities.