The waters of southern Mozambique represent the winter breeding ground of a large number of humpback whales. From June to October, thousands of humpback whales come on our coasts to mate, give birth to their calves and lactate them. Then they wait until the calves are big and strong enough to migrate back to the rich waters of Antarctica, where they feed during the summer.
Every year we run a Volunteer Program in Tofo, Mozambique. Our packages start at two week’s minimum stay; however, we do recommend a longer stay to ensure the best possible chance of observing these magnificent marine mammals in their natural environment.
Our research is focus on the biology of humpback whales, looking at all the aspects from behavior, distribution, abundance, communication and conservation. This volunteer program is designed around genetics, pollutants and stable isotopes investigation in order to identify whales feeding in different areas of Antarctica within the same breeding ground in Mozambique. Biopsies are an important aspect of whale conservation nowadays more than ever, as it enables us to get information on pollutants, genetics, feeding ecology, and since a few years also on the age of the sampled whales.
One of the interesting aspects of this volunteer opportunity is that you will participate first hand to our research efforts, going out at sea to collect data on these incredible whales. You will learn all the research techniques that we use to study humpback whales, from photo-identification, through acoustic recordings of their beautiful songs, to taking biopsies to study their diet and origin. After every trip at sea collecting data, we will process the information gathered and interpret it together. You will attend talks on the whales’ biology, anatomy, physiology, pathology, acoustics, research and conservation. But you will also be part of an entire group of researchers working with many interesting species such as whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, turtles and others.
By the end of the volunteer program, you will have gained insight into what it really means to do research with megafauna in the field, and what can be achieved with this research to reach conservation goals. You will have taken part in every aspect of our research and will have gained knowledge about how we transform this scientific data into real conservation efforts. You will be an integral part of our young research team and will witness the amazing reproductive season of these truly unique whales, which carry out the longest yearly migration in the mammalian kingdom. This all takes place in a wonderful setting, the beautiful coast of Mozambique.
If you’d like to stay with us longer than 4 weeks and for any question about the program, please contact us.