Home

About the whale shark research project

Whale Shark Research Project is a relatively new non-profit organization established in Baja California, Mexico, that offers a platform of opportunities for volunteers, students and the general public to help with the conservation and the scientific research of whale sharks in this region in collaboration with a PhD project. Founded by two passionate ocean conservationists who come from a marine biology background the project has gained rapid support and is now considered as the leading organization for the species in our region and both international and national volunteers have had the opportunity to donate their time to the conservation of this giant charismatic marine species.

Where We Are

Nearly three thousand different species of marine animals inhabit the Sea of Cortez, and precisely for this biological wealth, it is considered one of the most beautiful natural settings in the world. Jacques Cousteau certainly was not wrong when he referred to it as “The largest Aquarium in the World.” Baja California Sur, bordered by two seas, has the longest coastline of all the Mexican states at more than 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles). It is Home of the Cardón cactus, the world’s largest species of cactus which can reach heights of 21 meters (70 feet).

Furthermore, this part of the world is one of only a handful of localities globally where any research program can monitor aggregations of juvenile whale sharks, large pregnant female sharks and a variety of vulnerable species of rays and cetaceans. This biodiversity offers an outstanding global hot spot for students and volunteers to interlock both personal research goals or gain valuable marine experience. The Whale Shark Research Project is proud to be responsible for our permanent monitoring program documenting the species distribution, abundance and the up most advanced scientific research on the species in this region with it's base in La Paz bay.

SEE SOME SERVICES FROM OUR PROJECT

 
427

Satisfied Clients


21

Events


6

Monitoring Locations


 

Research Objectives

As the world's largest living fish, the whale shark (Rhincodon typus) has received much scientific attention in recent years, although despite this a great deal is still unknown on the life history and behavioural ecology of these majestic sharks. Furthermore, whale shark related tourism has exploded in the last two decades from only a few sites in the 1990s to more than 12 sites internationally, allowing it to become a highly lucrative industry based upon this vulnerable species without a great understanding of its carrying capacity.

Support us at the WSRP

Adopt a Whale Shark   

Volunteer Today

We are searching for driven, upbeat and hard-working volunteers who are concerned about conservation issues, interested in scientific research and eager to join our research team focusing on whale sharks ecology.

V olunteering with the WSRP is a once in a lifetime experience and personalized opportunities can be developed to suit all types of availability and commitment level, which truly give the participant the opportunity to work alongside a whale shark researcher, help with data collection techniques, increase your knowledge on marine conservation, learn about local Mexican culture & traditions, and have a fantastic time doing it.


No previous experience in a marine environment or any scientific background? Not a problem for us!
We welcome people of all ages, capacities, and nationalities. We are not prejudice to race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.


We have found that it is the diverse skills that our volunteers bring that make a huge impact on the research and its involvement with the community.


Below you can find our Volunteer Information Pack. This pack will provide you with more details on who we are and what is included in the volunteer opportunities plus a light whale shark biology.

More Information Book now

Testimonials


Nicole – Past Volunteer

Joining the whale shark research project as an intern has been my best adventure yet. It was an incredible experience getting to snorkel with the gentle giants almost everyday and I absolutely loved living in La Paz. I learned more about the big spotty fish than I ever could have imagined and really enjoyed the research and community activities. I can't wait to go back and if you are thinking about volunteering, just go, it will be unforgettable and you will probably be completely obsessed with whale sharks!
2016-01-27T04:25:35+00:00
Joining the whale shark research project as an intern has been my best adventure yet. It was an incredible experience getting to snorkel with the gentle giants almost everyday and I absolutely loved living in La Paz. I learned more about the big spotty fish than I ever could have imagined and really enjoyed the research and community activities. I can't wait to go back and if you are thinking about volunteering, just go, it will be unforgettable and you will probably be completely obsessed with whale sharks!

Jessie – Past Volunteer

Working with Darren and his team was nothing short of amazing. From the time I arrived I truly felt like part of the team. This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in megafauna conservation. You’ll learn how to photograph the sharks for photo-ID, do data entry on habitat and behaviour, and how to map the shark photos in IS3 Software-which is fascinating. Darren has worked with whale sharks for over 7 years and is eager to teach if you come ready to learn. The whole team really wants you to have the best experience possible. I have worked on a number of research projects over the years and this one stands out in my mind as one of the most rewarding.
2016-01-27T04:26:31+00:00
Working with Darren and his team was nothing short of amazing. From the time I arrived I truly felt like part of the team. This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in megafauna conservation. You’ll learn how to photograph the sharks for photo-ID, do data entry on habitat and behaviour, and how to map the shark photos in IS3 Software-which is fascinating. Darren has worked with whale sharks for over 7 years and is eager to teach if you come ready to learn. The whole team really wants you to have the best experience possible. I have worked on a number of research projects over the years and this one stands out in my mind as one of the most rewarding.

Maria – The Perfect World Foundation

Visiting the WSRP in Baja California, Mexico I must say has be one of the best and greatest destinations to volunteer hands-on with the Whale Sharks! They are everywhere, they are in the area all year around and if your lucky and have the opportunity catching them while they are feeding you can stay next to them for such a looong time! At this project I really learned a lot about the whale sharks especially, how to identify them and why they play an important role in marine communities.

As well as increasing my knowledge on the sharks I had an fantastic time doing it! The project leader and marine biologists at the WSRP are great and so passionate about what they do. So if you want to contribute with your own time, I really recommend to go here as a volunteer, its a fun and a different way of getting involved!
2016-01-27T04:27:37+00:00
Visiting the WSRP in Baja California, Mexico I must say has be one of the best and greatest destinations to volunteer hands-on with the Whale Sharks! They are everywhere, they are in the area all year around and if your lucky and have the opportunity catching them while they are feeding you can stay next to them for such a looong time! At this project I really learned a lot about the whale sharks especially, how to identify them and why they play an important role in marine communities. As well as increasing my knowledge on the sharks I had an fantastic time doing it! The project leader and marine biologists at the WSRP are great and so passionate about what they do. So if you want to contribute with your own time, I really recommend to go here as a volunteer, its a fun and a different way of getting involved!

Becky – Past Volunteer

I had the best time volunteering with the WSRP and being able to swim with an amazing animal and learning all about it. Also the environment created by the project is so engaging and the city is really vibrant and welcoming
2016-01-27T04:29:56+00:00
I had the best time volunteering with the WSRP and being able to swim with an amazing animal and learning all about it. Also the environment created by the project is so engaging and the city is really vibrant and welcoming

Cabo Trek – Operator

Whale Shark Research Project lead by Darren and Manuel is probably the best possible way to have an unique encounter with whale sharks. Not only will you be thrilled by the encounter with the biggest fish in the ocean, an important part of the experience is the knowledge shared by these marine biologists who dedicate their lives in studying and understanding these animals.

Education, passion, fun are all ingredients that will make long lasting memories for an unforgettable day.
2016-01-27T04:30:34+00:00
Whale Shark Research Project lead by Darren and Manuel is probably the best possible way to have an unique encounter with whale sharks. Not only will you be thrilled by the encounter with the biggest fish in the ocean, an important part of the experience is the knowledge shared by these marine biologists who dedicate their lives in studying and understanding these animals. Education, passion, fun are all ingredients that will make long lasting memories for an unforgettable day.
 
Support Us   

Volunteer Blog Posts

Read about the adventures of our volunteers

Contact Us