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ABOUT THE WHITE SHARK PROJECT

South Africa has long been known for its abundance of Great White Sharks, making it a prime area to observe these magnificent creatures. The Great White Shark, which can grow up to seven meters (23 feet) in length and 4 tons in weight, is now a protected species in South Africa. Owing to massive negative media publicity over the years, sharks have become one of the most maligned, misunderstood, even hated species on our fragile planet. They have been pursued, hunted and indiscriminately slaughtered, to the point where many species are endangered. Unsustainable fishing practices, dorsal fin poaching and environmental degradation compounded by a relatively slow Great White breeding cycle are all factors contributing to the potential demise of this amazing creature.
The Great White Shark Project is dedicated to the exploration and conservation of the world‟s greatest predator, the Great White Shark, and its environment. The project works with students, eco-tourists, conservation organizations and marine resource users (subsistence fishermen, sport divers and dive operators) to gather data on Great White Sharks, correct negative misconceptions about sharks, and stop the needless slaughter of over 100 million sharks annually. Current programs involve eco-tourism, public education, environmental advocacy as well as various social up- liftment programmes. White Shark Projects is a world leading organisation focusing on the Great White Shark. Founded in 1989 purely as a research centre, since 1989 it has grown and broadened its services to include a commercial diving and viewing centre and a separate educational department. White Shark Projects has taken the lead to establish shark tourism as an educational experience. "Everything we do we aim to do in harmony with nature and the environment we are working in.”

YOUR TRAINING AND WORK REQUIREMENTS

You can look forward to being trained in White Shark biology, research, behaviour, conservation, shark attacks and basic seamanship including anchoring positions, wind directions and shark tourism.

You are assured of hands on experience and will frequently go to sea, weather permitting, where you will be involved with all aspects of seamanship, shark conservation and ecotourism. Working with sharks both above and below water, you will gain exposure to the behaviour and interactions of sharks around the boat and will be taught the correct manner to enter and exit the cage and how to remain safe and secure once inside it. You will additionally receive training in how to meticulously record your observations of the physical attributes and behaviour of Great White Sharks.

LOCATION

Based in Gansbaai South Africa, a seaside village sustained primarily by the fishing industry and tourism, situated approximately two hours south-east of Cape Town. Fieldwork is conducted in locations where sharks are abundant, including around Dyer Island, aka Shark Alley which is arguably the world’s best Great White shark-spotting destination, along with many other wildlife species on the island which can be viewed from the boat. Dyer Island also provides the breeding ground for African (formerly known as Jackass) Penguins, Cape Cormorants and Gannets while nearby Geyser Rock serves as a breeding mecca for Cape Fur Seals and boasts a population of approximately 20 000 seals. This is the perfect habitat for the Great White, but whales and the occasional dolphin can also be spotted in season.

YOUR PROGRAMME

  • Welcome and induction by WSP team leader
  • Lectures on a variety of shark-related topics
  • Boat and cage preparation pre-and post-launch
  • Participation in data recording and weekly collation of all data
  • On bad weather days, local excursions could include Cape Agulhas, Hermanus, Betty’s Bay, and the site of the Birken head shipwreck
  • On certain days the boat can be chartered exclusively for you and without tourists
  • The programme duration is usually 21 days but volunteers can stay on for longer if they wish. It is recommended that you spend at least 14 days with us.
  • The programme runs throughout the year from the 1st & 15th of every month.
  • Accommodation is provided at the volunteer house free of charge but excludes meals, which you will be required to provide for yourself.

YOU RECEIVE

  • Two volunteer T-shirts
  • Our White Shark Projects cap
  • Welcome pack

WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING

  • Some clothing which you will not mind getting dirty/torn etc.
  • 3 pairs of shorts / slacks as part of our uniform when on our boat with tourists.
  • A rain jacket or plastic windbreaker as well as some warm clothing as it can be quite cool on land and on the water.
  • Non-slippery shoes to use on the boat – we recommend Welllingtons or ‘crocs’
  • Camera
  • Note book
  • You will be working at our Recycle Swop Shop on Tuesdays, so if you would like to bring any contributions, they will be greatly appreciated.
  • We supply all other diving equipment.

For more information on the requirements, costing etc. e-mail us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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