Wildlife conservation and community volunteer projects and internships worldwide

Volunteer with Dolphins & Whales

"I’ve never seen so many passionate researchers in one place, always happy, helpful and full of knowledge about cetaceans to share! During my time I worked on a research project on the prevalence of skin diseases, parasites, shark bites, entanglement and deformities of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins around the South African coast."

Nicole, UK

Dolphins and whales belong to the Cetacea group which is divided into toothed whales and baleen whales.  Dolphins belong to the former group while the blue whale, fin whale, right whale and humpback whale belonging to the latter group.   Intelligent and social, dolphins often leave people wonderstruck with their impressive agile theatrical skills.  There are as many as 40 different dolphin species worldwide, many of which you may be lucky enough to see if you join us a dolphin volunteer researcher.  These creatures are known for their friendliness and newborns tend to stick close to their mothers for sometimes as many as 8 years.  Emotional bonds extend further, with dolphins known to tend to the sick, the old and the injured.

Whales do all their habitual activities in the open ocean including feeding, mating, giving birth, suckling and raising their young.  Females are very protective of their young, a bond that is considered the strongest in whale social structure.  Whales are a wonder to see in nature, often breathtaking in their sheer size and incredibly pleasurable for volunteers to research and watch.  These species are also essential to marine ecosystems – did you know whale poo plays are role in offsetting carbon in the atmosphere?  This is because it stimulates the growth of phytoplankton which pulls carbon from the atmosphere.

Our Projects with Dolphins & Whales

  • Dolphin & Whale Research Volunteer Project, Portugal

    • Duration 1 Week+
    • Prices from £920

    Volunteer in Portugal and support Dolphin & Whale Conservation and Research whilst exploring the Algarve coastline.

  • Coral Reef Conservation & Diving Project, Thailand

    • Duration 2 - 12 Weeks
    • Prices from £1295

    Join a marine and coral reef conservation project on Koh Phangan island in Thailand’s Samui archipelago. A great opportunity for students looking to gain diving and scientific research experience in a stunning tropical setting and kickstart a career in marine conservation.

  • Dolphin & Whale Volunteer Research Project, Italy

    • Duration 1 - 4 weeks
    • Prices from £750

    A sailing-boat based cetacean volunteer research and conservation programme in the Western Mediterranean located between Italy and France.

  • Coral Reef Restoration & Diving Project, Bali

    • Duration 1 - 8 Weeks
    • Prices from £755

    Join our reef restoration mission in Bali! Empower local communities to bring new life to the northeast coast. As part of this reef restoration programme, help construct and deploy artificial reefs, dive up to 8 times a week to monitor progress, and be a part of restoring the beauty of Bali’s reefs.

  • Ocean Research Conservation Project, South Africa

    • Duration 1 week - 10 months
    • Prices from £635

    Volunteer with dolphin, seal and whale research in South Africa. Take part in marine conservation, penguin rescue and educational projects along the South African coast.

  • Sea Search Whale & Dolphin Research Programme, South Africa

    • Duration 2 weeks
    • Prices from £1950

    Join a team of scientists in Cape Town and gain experience in researching whale and dolphin species including humpback whales, dolphins and fur seals.

  • The Great African Seaforest Marine Volunteer Programme, South Africa

    • Duration 1-12 Weeks
    • Prices from £795

    Join a team of passionate marine biologists and conservationists in the field and get hands-on experience working on marine research and conservation projects. Assist with scientific monitoring projects, citizen science initiatives and explore the kelp forests whilst on fish and shark surveys with the research team. Contribute to long term monitoring programmes of the great African sea forest.

  • Dolphin Research Volunteer Project, Greece

    • Duration 1-4 weeks
    • Prices from £700

    Volunteer on this dolphin and monk seal research project in the Ionian Sea and help to ensure the long-term survival of Bottlenose and Common Dolphins and Mediterranean Monk Seals.

  • Great Barrier Reef Conservation Project, Australia

    • Duration 2-4 Weeks
    • Prices from £2075

    Join a marine conservation internship in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Help to protect this amazing natural wonder and develop your conservation and research skills alongside experienced marine biologists.

  • Looking for a Volunteer Project Abroad?
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    WorkingAbroad is the Go-To Website for Ethical & Responsible Volunteer & Internship Opportunities Abroad

    We run volunteer programmes in over 30 countries across the world focusing on wildlife conservation and community development projects and every project we offer adheres to our ethical standards.

Basic Facts

Basic Facts

Being aquatic animals, the large majority of the diet of whales and dolphins is based on water creatures.  A few species, like the killer whale, are known to feed on large mammals and birds, such as penguins and seals.  Because of their lack of teeth, baleen whale species feed just on small fish krill and plankton using their ‘baleen plates’ made of keratin to ‘filter’ their food.

Dolphins tend to live on average 17 years – although they have been known to reach up to 50 years of age.  By contrast, whales’ lifespans usually range between 50 and 80 years and some species, like the bowhead whale, have been found to live up to 200 years.

Did You Know?

Did You Know?

  • Cetaceans, the group to which dolphins belong, has its closest relative as the hippopotamus?
  • It is believed dolphins conserve energy by swimming alongside ships, a practice known as bow-riding?
  • Research suggest in size of brain to body ratio, dolphins rank second only after humans?
  • Scientists have shown dolphins have their own unique ‘names’, individual whistles that they recognise as their own?
  • The Blue whale is not only the largest current living species, but also the largest ever to have inhabited planet earth (including the dinosaurs)?
Main Threats Facing Cetaceans

Main Threats Facing Cetaceans

Whales and dolphins both face similar threats.  One considerable concerns revolves, as is the theme with most animals, around habitat. Though in the case of these aquatic creatures, this occurs in the form of habitat degradation due to pollution and climate change.  Pollution effects, from plastic to oil to other toxic contaminants, is well known around the globe and efforts to counteract it are present.

In addition to this wide reaching threat, is the problem of whaling and entanglement in fishing gear, which is common in many parts of the world, is also of continuing concern. If you join our dolphin and whale volunteer projects, you can assist with research and collecting data which forms part of a long term initiative to conserve and protect these species worldwide.