Run by: The Great Projects
Reference number: Marine Conservation in Mozambique
Praia do Tofo’s roots may be those of a fishing village, but over time this tiny town has earned the admiration of marine-lovers, making this a tourist hotspot. Humpback whales, manta rays and gregarious whale sharks each call Tofo’s shore ‘home’, and by volunteering on this exciting project you might just find yourself meeting some of the marine residents’ acquaintance!
This project exists to monitor the quality of the seas around Tofo, with the health of reefs and marine species alike being the height of importance. Founded by whale shark conservationist Simon Pierce and world-renowned manta ray biologist Andrea Marshall, this programme is well-loved by marine enthusiasts and scientists, offering those who choose to volunteer the opportunity to help protect some of the most amazing species on earth. From whale shark health monitoring to coral reef analysis, your time spent volunteering in one of the most species-rich locations on earth will surely be worthwhile.
Your working week on this project will typically consist of days running from 7:30 and 17:30, with most weekends spent at leisure. Your weekly itinerary may consist of the following activities:
Manta Ray Work
Your work may involve photo-IDing the reef and giant mantas, laser-measuring them, and watching/assisting scientists in taking biological samples before uploading them to relevant databases. You may also be tasked with recording re-sightings on mantamatcher.org, a worldwide database of these gentle marine creatures.
Whale Shark Work
Just off of Tofo is one of the world's major whale shark hotspots, with over 620 of them being identified within Mozambican waters. You may take part in the photo ID-ing of whale sharks, and may also take pictures of the shark's characteristics such as scarring. These images will then be uploaded into a database, and any resightings will be recorded.
Humpback Whale Monitoring
During the months of June til September, you may be lucky enough to spot whale sharks on their journey from Antarctica to Tanzania! In this instance, you will help to assess the animals' health and populations, conducting monitoring sessions both from land and boat, recording any data into the world humpback whale database.
Between the months of November and February, you'll contribute to the data collection of turtle species such as loggerhead, hawksbill and leatherback. You'll monitor the landing of turtles, collecting GPS data on their nesting sites, and photo-IDing any specimens you may see.
Coral Reef Health Work
One-quarter of all marine species depend on reefs for survival, and as such, the project has set up 'no-take zones' as a way to prevent nearby reefs from being damaged by human activity. You will spend time monitoring the health of the reef via marine surveys, keeping your eyes peeled for keystone species (such as the 'crown-of-thorns' starfish), and taking part in video transects.
You may find yourself working with the community at times on this project, encouraging them to care about their environment. You may educate them via workshops, for example, informing the locals about waste management, sustainable fishing practices, and the protection of the local area.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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