Our volunteer programme offers a unique opportunity to get involved with meaningful research studying Great White Sharks and other shark species in the Great White Shark capital of the world, as well as contribute towards white shark marine conservation in South Africa.
Since the Great White Shark population in South Africa is at potential risk of extinction with numbers believed to be around 300-500, our White Shark research focuses primarily on monitoring the numbers of these apex predators in our waters, with the aim of obtaining another population estimate within the next two to three years. We are using dorsal fin identification to identify and closely monitor the different individuals we are observing each day, and building a comprehensive database of fins photographed.
With other shark species also threatened or vulnerable due to over exploitation, we are also conducting studies to learn about these species in particular the endemic shark species we have in South Africa. We currently know little about these species; hence the aims of our research are to obtain baseline data on sharks in our area, including their diversity, abundance, movement patterns, habitat use and growth rates. Secondly, in the long-term we will be assessing the health of their populations and determining whether local fishermen play a role in shark population decline.
Participants in the programme will assist with data collection and data management for the projects outlined above. Volunteers will gain a considerable amount of sea experience and valuable research skills, both on our cage diving boat and dedicated research vessel.
Daily activities include cage-diving trips, shark tagging trips (from our research boat and from the shoreline), snorkelling for sharks in the kelp forests, beach clean ups, equipment maintenance, video analysis, data entry and dorsal fin ID analysis. Volunteers will get to interact daily with our scientists and learn all about Great White Sharks and other marine wildlife in our area. Participants will also have the opportunity to interact with the local community by supporting our shark conservation, education and outreach projects.
We endeavour to make your time with us a personal and career building experience, providing extensive training in all projects and tailoring the volunteer programme to meet your individual needs. Included in the programme are several chances to be involved with cage-diving activities and come face to face with the magnificent Great White Shark in an unforgettable diving experience!