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Whale Shark Research and Conservation Project

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Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines


Swim with whale sharks!

Study these beautiful marine animals!

Work with a diverse researchers from all over the world!

Learn more about marine conservation.

Experience a new culture by living in a local community in the Philippines!

Donsol Bay is home to the Philippines' original whale shark tourism destination, which was founded
in 1998 with the assistance of WWF-Philippines. Whale sharks naturally aggregate here to feed in the
rich waters. In 2015, LAMAVE started working with WWF-Philippines to study this aggregation and
to build a comprehensive database of individual whale sharks using photo-ID.

The waters of Donsol, in the Southern tip of the Bicol region, have been home to whale sharks for
many years, though it wasn’t until 1998 that people realised its potential for tourism after new
legislation (FAO 193) was passed, protecting whale sharks across the country. Shortly after the
passing of the law, WWF-Philippines worked alongside the local government, Department of
Tourism and stakeholders, to set up effective and sustainable tourism practices. The area soon
became known as the "Whale Shark Capital of the World" and remains the Philippines original whale
shark tourism destination.

WWF Philippines have collected extensive data on the whale sharks since 2007, and in March 2015
began a collaboration with LAMAVE in order to continue the collection of whale shark photo-ID to
identify and follow population trends in Donsol. Using this data, the team is building a
comprehensive database of individual whale sharks using photo-ID, to identify which individuals are
using this important habitat and to understand the population structure in this area.

To date, Donsol is still the largest and longest studied whale shark aggregation in the Philippines.
The research in Donsol, in combination with LAMAVE work in Cebu, Palawan, Southern Leyte and
Mindanao, is essential to developing an understanding of whale shark movement patterns in the
Philippines and beyond.

More opportunities with Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines

No additional volunteer opportunities at this time.

About Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines


Tejero, Jagna, Bohol 6308, PH

Mission Statement

Ensuring a future for large marine vertebrates in the Philippines and South East Asia, through sharing research-based solutions with communities and governments SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH. OCEAN CONSERVATION. COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT


Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines (LAMAVE) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the research and conservation of marine megafauna and the marine environment in the Philippines.

We believe in sharing knowledge to reach conservation goals.

LAMAVE focuses its efforts on charismatic marine megafauna, using it as an umbrella species to protect the wider marine environment. We identify hotspots and quantify populations of species including whale sharks, turtles and other animals. We use technology, such as satellite and acoustic tags to help determine key habitat sites, home ranges and migratory corridors of marine species. The results are shared with governments and stakeholders, to work together to minimise impacts anddevelop tools forconservation management such as creating or zoning marine protected areas or advising policy. For more information, check out our latest publications, or click on the animal icons to learn more about species-specific research.



Fri Jan 01, 2021 - Thu Apr 01, 2021


DonsolSorsogon, Sorsogon 5300Philippines



  • Environmental Policy
  • Environmental Education
  • Environmental Science




  • Must be at least 21
  • 3 months
  • Free-diving skills to 10 m, physically fit to swim at moderate-exerting pace for minutes, able to work long hours at sea, marine/biology background preferred positive attitude, attention to detail, contributive member of a small team.

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