Gain valuable hands-on experience in marine conservation as you work to protect whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. You will not find a better location than Tenerife to take part in worthwhile research, with over one third of all cetacean species either residing or passing through these Canarian waters.
Tenerife is the perfect island to come and volunteer and go on an adventure. Not only are flights not to expensive nor long, but this unique experience will allow you to explore the countless picturesque beaches, snorkel in the crystal clear waters, trek up the mountainous lunar landscapes (including the iconic Mount Teide) and enjoy the year-round sunshine!
You will provide a big contribution into our on-going research by monitoring behaviour and wild population numbers of whales and dolphins in the area. There are many resident communities of pilot whales and dolphins that remain here throughout the year and can be observed almost daily (around 80% of the days)! On top of this, there are a staggering 24 other species that migrate past the island at different times of the year, from blue whales to even killer whales.
As with the growing list of animals, whales and dolphins here are currently facing a number of threats. These range from habitat degradation, injuries from ships and commercial fishing equipment, prey depletion (caused by overfishing) and noise and health effects resulting from increased in-water pollution.
Luckily, there are still a number of residents that reproduce in the area, making the importance of our conservation efforts and the protection of these magnificent creates paramount.
This is your perfect opportunity to learn all about these fascinating creatures and to gain practical experience within this exciting field as you spend your days out at sea on one of the ethical tourist whale watching boats.
You will be collecting vital data and photographs of any observations made each day. The data being collected includes population numbers and health, interactions with other vessels and animals, behaviour patterns, habitat conditions and more!
During your time on the boats, you will also be responsible for our community outreach project to raise awareness of the issues threatening whales and dolphins in Tenerife. As you will come into contact with many tourists, this is your chance to inform them of the impact of tourism on wildlife (and the best approach) as well as the effects of plastic and other environmental issues.
You may also be able to take part in adhoc land surveys from viewpoints dotted along the coast. Here you will be able to monitor wildlife populations, boat traffic and more.
We need committed volunteers like you to ensure the conservation of a number of endangered cetacean species. The baseline data you collect will contribute towards the long-term management of the area and assist in promoting marine conservation in the wider region. These activities contribute to Tenerife’s expanding knowledge of the whale and dolphin populations, informing tourists and industry members and will build on our on-going conservation efforts on the island.
There are many research projects we work on at any one time. We have listed just a few of the topics we are currently working on below to give you an idea of what the data you collect helps us to discover.
- Linking mothers and calfs with photo ID
- Do pilot whale families have a signature whistle unique to them?
- What impact do boats have on the behaviour of pilot whales?
- Are we able to recognise an individual dolphin by their face with photo ID?
- Is there an increasing / decreasing presence of a particular migratory specie and if so what is the possible cause?
Staying within our accommodation up in the mountains, you will enjoy far-reaching views down to the sea. It’s the perfect location if you would like to head into Playa de las Americas / Los Cristianos at the weekend for a few drinks or if you would prefer to experience a more relaxed lifestyle and enjoy local traditions.
You will be able to get the most out of your time on the island, as our local team have been able to organise a wide range of heavily discounted activities. These range from traditional dance lessons, horse riding, paragliding, mountain climbing, canoeing, caving, snorkelling, scuba diving, kite & wind surfing, sailing, cycling and more.
Volunteering in Tenerife is a great way to experience a stunning island, closer to home.
You will spend at least 3 days per week on one of the ethical whale watching boats. These full on days will see you at sea for around 8 hours (starting at 10am and finishing at 6pm) in search of whales and dolphins – no other programme offers this! The other 2 days will be spent processing all of the data collected and inputting all information onto our database.
Some of the more important activities you will be involved in are:
As you will be spending so much time at sea to research and monitor the whales and dolphins in the area, there will be lots of data available to collect. For every interaction you will need to fill in a data sheet that collects important information about population numbers, behaviour patterns, interactions with vessels and animals, habitat conditions and so much more.
At the end of the day and during your non-sea days you will then have the task of inputting everything onto our ever expanding database – one of the most complete sources of information on cetaceans in the world!
Our research data is then used to help provide useful and accurate information when local and international authorities are looking to make conservation decisions. Not only this, but the information is open to all volunteers who are looking to complete research papers, dissertations or anything else to help aid their studies / work.
Taking fin-shots are an extremely important part of the data collection as it is the only way we are able to identify individual cetaceans and their unique behaviours. You will be responsible for handling a DSLR camera and will be taught the basics about how to identify the animals by their dorsal fins.
Dorsal fins are used for identification because each fin is unique like the fingerprint of a human. Building a catalogue of fin-shots will allow us to create associations between individuals and determine connections between family pods.
As volunteers are allowed on-board the ethical whale watching boats free of charge, we need to assist the crew where needed. This could be anything from pointing out any animals seen, teaching your newly gained knowledge about the cetacean species, helping serve drinks and assisting passengers wherever necessary.
As we come across many hundreds of thousands of tourists each year, we believe we can do a lot to raise awareness about important environmental issues. We are currently running a community outreach programme to highlight issues threatening whales and dolphins in Tenerife and also how plastic is having a devastating impact on our world.
Weekends are free days where we actively encourage you to go and explore this beautiful island. We can help arrange all kinds of trips, so whether you are looking to explore the more traditional side of Tenerife up in the hills with some wine tasting and horse riding or to party in Playas de las Americas our local team can help.
During your time in Tenerife, you will be staying within our comfortable accommodation situated in the small town of Arona. Located up in the mountains, just a short drive from the coast and tourist areas, this is the perfect place to call home.
Looking down across the mountainous landscape to the sea, you will not find better views on the whole of the island than outside of your window!
Arona has all of the basic amenities you may need, including a small supermarket, bar and several cafes – all within walking distance.
Enjoy the best of both worlds. If you’re looking to relax then you can enjoy the quietness that surrounds you, head off on one of the many treks nearby or head to a local vineyard to try some local wine and cheese. If you are looking for a more action packed time, then Playas de las Americas is just a stones throw away where you can find many restaurants and bars as well as a vast array of water sports!
The volunteer accommodation is basic, but it is more than suitable for your time volunteering. You will be sharing your room with up to 5 other volunteers (same sex) in bunk beds – think dorm like living. There are several communal bathrooms that have western style toilets and hot water.
There is a communal kitchen where volunteers prepare and cook their meals and a great outside eating area where everyone congregates of an evening to share their stories from the boats that day.
Wi-Fi is available, although this can be intermittent.
Wifi – Yes
People per room – Up to 6
Single sex rooms – Yes
Nearest ATM & shops – 5 minute walk
Airport Transfers – 20 minute drive
All meals are prepared and cooked by volunteers on a rota basis at the volunteer accommodation. All volunteers come together each meal time to sit outside, socialise and eat – the perfect time to share stories.
Lunch is not included within the programme fee, although it is generally provided when on the boats.
We are able to cater for several dietary requirements, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten free. Please state any requirements when applying.
What are the requirements to join?
We welcome all volunteers from any background, religion and nationality, as long as you have no criminal convictions and are able to supply a clean criminal background check. In order to join the programme you need to be at least 16 years old on the programme start date.
Individuals need to have a good level / understanding of English but it does not need to be your first language. As some programmes can be quite strenuous, we recommend that you should be physically fit.
What date should I arrive and leave?
You should arrive at Tenerife South Airport (TFS) on your selected start date, being every Monday. You will be met by one of our local team members or an appointed driver who will be holding a named sign and who will then take you straight to the volunteer accommodation – around a 20 minute drive.
The programme ends on a Sunday of your final week and you should depart the accommodation on this day. Our local team will be happy to help organise any onward journeys or book transport back to the airport.
Are there any age restrictions for solo travellers?
The only age restriction in place is that you have to be at least 16 years old before your programme start date. Anyone over this age is welcome. Generally the average age range for our programmes is 18 – 25, although this is by no means definitive and we regularly have volunteers of all ages.
What is the minimum age for travelling with my family?
If you are travelling with family and at least one member is aged 18 years old or over, then we welcome anyone from 5 years and up.
When should I apply for the programme?
You can apply for this programme at anytime, however we advise that you apply as soon as possible to have the best chances of securing your placement on your selected dates. Some of our programmes have limited capacity and spaces can get filled up quickly.
If you are wanting to volunteer within the next few weeks, then please contact us and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.
It is possible to change your start dates once you have been accepted, however this is subject to availability and can attract a small administration fee.
What duration would you recommend?
On gaining feedback from previous volunteers, we believe 3 – 6 weeks is the ideal time to get settled in and really involved with the programme. This also allows you to make the most of your free time, to explore this beautiful island and to participate in any activities.
We regularly have volunteers come for 1 to 2 weeks that tell us that they did not believe they had enough time and wish they had stayed for longer.
How will I get to the project?
You will be transported to the harbour by a private car. We currently work with several whale watching companies located across two harbours – neither harbour is more than a 30 minute drive.
Is there Internet and phone signal?
There is Wi-Fi within the volunteer accommodation although this can be intermittent. If you are wanting to call home or use the internet while out and about, we recommend that you bring an unlocked phone and purchase a local sim card – our local team can assist.
What is Arona like?
Our volunteer accommodation is located in a small town called Arona, situated up in the mountains. This quiet town has the basic amenities like a small supermarket, bar, as well as a few cafes.
You will enjoy the fantastic views through the hills down to the sea and be able to relax listening to the few animal sounds that surround you.
Located just a short 15 minute drive from the coast, you will be able to easily explore the beaches and the touristy areas during your free time – Playas de las Americas and Los Cristianos to name but a few!
The Mighty Roar Local Team in Tenerife
Our programmes in Tenerife are run by our dedicated local volunteer team, who are committed to ensuring you have the best time ever. Our team members provide the structure for your stay, including the accommodation, meals, airport pickup, in-country orientation and of course support.
They are sure to become your good friends and you will not meet nicer people that are willing to do everything in their power to make your stay the most memorable.
Will I get an in-country orientation?
Yes. Your orientation will be on Sunday morning and will go through everything you need to know for your time in Tenerife.
Our local coordinator will go through all of the important health and safety information that you should follow during your time in Tenerifea.
What is the weather like in Tenerife?
The sun shines brightly everyday! Enjoying year long sunshine, you will be greeted with clear blue skies and comfortable temperatures.
There are sometimes when it may rain, but this is generally very short and common during seasonal changes – January to March.
Can I volunteer if I live outside of the UK?
Yes of course. We welcome volunteers from around the world, no matter how far away from the programmes you are. The majority of volunteers that we host, come from the UK, US, Germany, Canada and Australia.
Can I go with my friend / partner?
We have many volunteers that travel with their friends, family members or with their partner. If required, we can ensure that you are based on the same project and stay within the same accommodation. On request, we can normally organise a private room too.
Is it safe to travel to Tenerife?
We regularly visit and participate in each and every one of the programmes we offer in Tenerife to rigorously check all aspects of the project and accommodation are safe and that all procedures are being followed. These include but are not limited to checking the living conditions within the volunteer accommodations, checking the neighbourhoods you’ll be staying in, tasting the food you’ll be eating and going on any weekend trips recommended by us or our local team.
We monitor the stability of all of our volunteer destinations on a daily basis and have constant contact with our overseas teams to ensure that our volunteers are safe.
All volunteers will receive a comprehensive volunteer handbook when you choose to join us on one of our programmes. This detailed document addresses a large range of issues such as health, safety, visas, as well as going into details about local cultures and traditions.
When you arrive in-country, you will be given a safety briefing during your orientation that will cover things like emergency procedures, how to use local transport and any cultural differences.
Our in-country team are on hand to help with any issues or to answer any questions and please do not forget that our UK office is available 24/7 in case of any rare emergencies.
While we can never guarantee your volunteer experience will be 100% trouble free, we have taken all of the necessary precautions to minimise all risks and to ensure the programme is as safe as possible.
Before You Depart
When do I pay? Can I pay in instalments?
To confirm and guarantee your placement on one of our programmes, you need to pay the registration fee of £129 within 7 days of receiving confirmation that your application was successful. The remaining balance is then due no less than 60 days prior to your programme start date.
Payments can be done all at once or be spread out over several months and can be paid via BACS (bank transfer). We do accept additional payments methods, such as debit and credit cards, although there may be additional fees.
Do I need any vaccinations and / or malaria tablets?
As we are not trained medical experts we cannot tell you exactly what vaccinations or other medication you may need for your trip. You will need to consult with your local doctors or travel clinic.
You can also find additional information on the NHS Fit For Travel website.
How do I arrange my flights?
All flights need to be booked by you, although we can point you in the right direction on where you may be able to find the best prices.
Before booking any flights, we strongly recommend that you wait to have confirmation that your application has been successful.
Do you offer travel insurance?
Travel insurance is a compulsory part of your volunteering trip, that’s why we have teamed up with Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive travel insurance policy. It is suitable for all of the programmes we offer and can be taken out at any time. You can read more about our insurance here.
If you decide to purchase your travel insurance from an alternative provider, please ensure it covers you for everything you will be doing. Adequate travel insurance must be in place no less than 60 days before your programme start date. Without proof of this insurance, we will not be able to accept you onto the programme.
When will I receive my volunteer handbook?
You will receive a welcome email from us as soon as you have paid the registration fee and your placement has been confirmed. The welcome email will include the volunteer handbook that provides a wealth of information that will help you better understand all aspects of your upcoming trip as well as details about our insurance policy.
Please note, that all material is sent via email and hard copies cannot be sent.
On Your Trip
Can I arrange a private room?
The majority of our accommodation only offers shared rooms that are usually same-sex. However, if you would prefer a private room please let us know and we will at least try for you.
Can you cater for my dietary requirements?
We will try our best to cater for any dietary requirements. When you submit your application please include any required details within the dietary section and we will liaise with our local coordinators.
Are there any public holidays that would affect the project?
Although we try to be as clear as possible of all holidays that affect project availability, due to the nature of some countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change.
If such a holiday falls when you are on your placement, this is generally a good time to experience unique festivities where you can join in with the locals.
What is the dress code at the projects?
We ask that all volunteers take the approach of a smart and responsible image during your time in the communities and on projects. It is best to also take some older clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
Generally, it is best to avoid tight and very short clothing and anything that may have offensive slogans on it. It’s recommended that you take some nicer clothes for weekends or any free time you may have.
We do not wish to impose strict regulations, however we do ask that you respect the local culture and do your best to adhere to the clothing guidelines within the volunteer handbook.
How much spending money will I need?
For general expenses and some travelling, you should find that £50 – £100 per week is sufficient. However, this can vary greatly depending on the amount of activities or trips you do and if you are eating out during the week.
Will I be able to travel whilst on the programme?
There should be plenty of time to travel while on your placement and we actively encourage that you do! The local coordinators will be able to give you lots of travel tips and provide any help needed for your independent adventure.
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