"Mafia Island is a traveller’s dream: white sandy beaches, beautiful coral reefs, and astoundingly, a lack of tourists!"
This exciting trip offers interns the chance to interact daily with incredible marine life, including humpback whales, marine turtles and, of course, whale sharks. Interns on this trip can expect to learn a whole degree of new skills, including skin diving, identifying whale sharks, local language and culture, as well as the opportunity to visit local schools and assist in English teaching and conservation awareness. Working in both marine conservation and the tourism industry, this project supports important research in an effort to learn more about whale sharks. Interns will be taught how to identify these magnificent creatures while swimming alongside them due to their individual spot-like fingerprints. This is an integral part of the research conducted for whale sharks to map their migration across the planet. You will also assist in tourist whale shark excursions where knowledge gained from twice weekly lessons will be put to the test. This experience, where you have the chance to help the vital research dedicated to these gentle giants, is truly one of a kind.
This fantastic project is dedicated to the ongoing marine conservation and research of whale sharks. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has declared the whale shark a vulnerable species. They are incredibly important to understanding the general health of our oceans as they often gather in areas with abundant plankton food. Therefore, if the whale shark became endangered, scientists would lose an incredible and beautiful link to the condition of the ocean. Through this program, interns contribute to the global spot-pattern identification project, which hopes to map the migration of whale sharks. Through this identification, data can be added to a worldwide database which then can be utilised to assess the health of the species. Recently, the project hosted a team of researchers from the King Abdul University (KAUST) and the University of Queensland who were looking at oceanographic factors influencing the occurrence and distribution of whale sharks in the waters. Furthermore, much of their research includes aspects related to the tourism that surrounds whale sharks, such as the behaviour of these magnificent sharks in encounters with tourists and fishers. In addition to this, the project also works closely with communities in spreading awareness of conservation through development projects in local schools.
The Adventure Begins: Arrive at Mafia Island where you can spend some time relaxing at your accommodation. Later, you will meet and get to know your fellow interns as well as your program coordinators.
Project Days: Weekdays will be spent working on scientific activities. These include twice weekly theory classes related to conservation, language and culture. Interns take part in boat excursions, both to help tourists and identify whale sharks.
Time to say goodbye: Transfer back to the airport for your return flight.
The rate shown is a 'from' price per person
Click 'Ask a Question' to enquire about full project dates, availability and costs
To secure a place on this project a 20% deposit is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.
Orientation and ongoing training in marine conservation* Accommodation* Airport Transfers* Food and drinks as specified* Laundry service* Skills and theory classes* Community participation* Full support from the project team
All flights* Insurance (click 'Ask a Question' to chat to the operator about this)* Visa cost* Any extra excursions* SCUBA diving or certification* Alcohol, snacks and personal items* Anything else not mentioned in inclusions - if in doubt, click 'Ask a Question'!