Whale Shark Research Project

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Program Description

Assist local initiatives in preserving magnificent whale shark! Help within the local community with beach sweeps and clean-ups.

Other work for volunteers here includes cataloguing the collected data into a database which will help to recognise the individual sharks themselves and help to determine the health of South Ari Atoll’s population of the species.

Since starting this project eight years ago, the team has managed over 3000 encounters with whale sharks, identified over 208 individuals, catalogued them into a worldwide database and made some interesting and vital observations of the whale sharks that congregate in South Ari Atoll. Join daily trips out to sea to keep an eye out for these incredible animals. Once one is spotted, it will be all hands on deck as you all get into the water and help with identifying from photos the sharks, helping to sex them and recognising individual sharks.


An integral aspect to this project is the community outreach programmes that it promotes. You will be able to spend every day of your time here talking and working with the local community, learning from their experiences and helping to promote the importance of whale shark conservation.

The island is one of very few in the world to boast a year-round population of whale sharks, and you will most likely begin to recognise some of them! Once spotted, volunteers will then get the chance to enter the water with these magnificent creatures, measuring the sharks from head to tail and recording data via photo ID and written logs. What’s more, you may also have the chance to see some of the Maldives’ other famous marine inhabitants – including graceful manta rays, turtles, dolphins, and whitetip reef sharks. Volunteers here will spend much of their time out at sea, keeping their eyes peeled for the distinctive shapes of these graceful giants gliding through the water!


No special skills or qualifications are required to join this project - just a willingness to get involved with all activities and a minimum age of 18.

Volunteer Types

What`s Included

• Accommodation in the TME resort for the entirety of the project.
• Three meals per day (including a buffet style breakfast and dinner and a packed lunch for lunch).
• Daily Return Boat Transfers to and from the project site (where monitoring of the whale sharks takes place).
• All project activities

Other Programs From The Same Provider

Program Locations

Male, Maldives

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Program Details

The Great Projects
  • Maldives: Male
Throughout the year
Program Duration:
1-3 months
American, Asian, Australian, Canadian, European, Kiwi, South African, Worldwide
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