Responsible tourism: Whale Shark conservation vacation in Tanzania
This exciting and varied programme provides a unique opportunity for interns to interact with whale sharks on a daily basis while gaining valuable skills and experience in both marine conservation and the tourism industry. This project supports important on-going marine conservation efforts and hosts research projects in an effort to learn more about whale sharks. You will contribute to the global spot-pattern photo identification project, which seeks to identify individuals and subsequently map the movements of whale sharks. Whale shark spot-patterns are like fingerprints and therefore enable one to add their location to a worldwide database. The attraction of this method is that it does not involve tagging or otherwise interfering with the animals.
Rubbish is also a major problem within the Indian Ocean, so volunteers will be involved with regular beach sweeps and clean ups. This makes a big difference to everybody on the island and the surrounding region, so there will often be half day beach cleans.
The project is also researching aspects related to the whale shark tourism, such as adherence to codes of conduct and the behaviour of whale sharks in encounters with tourists and fishermen. With the chance to help in integral marine conservation of these gentle giants, contribute to their overall study and also help out with local community initiatives - this project really is one of a kind.
During your stay you will participate in one or more local development projects such as: teaching English to communties on the island, swimming lessons for the local children and whale shark conservation awareness talks/lectures. Many people (tourists and locals) don't understand the importance of whale shark and wider shark conservation, so your role as a volunteer here is essential in making people understand just why these magnificent animals need to be conserved etc.
This is a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in a local community environment and really help to make a difference to both the communities that live here and the marine environment with which they are immersed in.