As one of the top whale and dolphin watching destinations in the world, the south-west coast of Tenerife is a truly outstanding location for the observation of free-living whales. There are resident communities of pilot whales and dolphins which remain here throughout the year, which can be observed on perhaps 80% of the days of the year. There is also a total of 24 other species migrating through Canarian waters at different times of the year from the giant blue whale to the majestic killer whale.
This project will give you the perfect opportunity to learn more about these fascinating creatures and gain valuable experience in conservation as you spend your days working alongside the Island’s threatened whale and dolphin populations.
WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
Whales and dolphins are a natural resource in the Canary Islands, as is highlighted by the presence of more than 84 whale watching boats in the Islands, and about 500,000 whale watching tourists every year. Whales and dolphins are both beautiful species and have been around for millions of years so it’s of extreme importance humans conserve and respect these creatures.
Currently the whales and dolphins face a number of threats including habitat degradation, injury from ships and commercialised fishing equipment, prey depletion caused by overfishing, and noise and health effects resulting from increased in-water pollution rates.
There are still a number of key cetacean populations that are residential and reproduce in the region, and so the protection of these magnificent creatures is paramount. We need volunteers to join the project that are committed to ensuring the conservation of a number of endangered cetacean species. The baseline data you collect will contribute towards the long-term management of the area and assist in promoting marine conservation in the wider Mediterranean region. So if you’re a marine life enthusiast and want to contribute to the important work of conservationists in Tenerife then this is the project for you!
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
Volunteers can expect to join one of the many whale-watching boats 3-5 times a week. After your initial training, your role will cover two equally important areas:
Back at the field base after each survey day you will help enter the data collected into the research databases. You will be taught how to correctly prepare digital photos of the whales and dolphins for subsequent identification, and learn how to match these using the natural marks on the fin with the digital catalogue of known individuals. If you’re willing to get stuck in and engross yourself in valuable work contributing to the conservation of these charismatic and enchanting species then this project is perfect for you.