Build your experience in communications and marketing, working in a whale conservation project
Whale conservation in Mexico: You will volunteer as part of an ecotourism agency based in Mazatlan, Mexico. Their mission is to connect people with wildlife through unique experiences in nature. They achieve this by using whale watching trips as ‘platforms of opportunity’ for wildlife research and monitoring – to get as many people as possible collecting data. The project also supports community conservation initiatives in the region.
A key aspect of their work is the long term monitoring of marine mammal species and populations. The area is an essential habitat for a diverse range of marine life, including sea turtles, sea lions, sharks, birds and many whale and dolphin species, including year round resident populations of bottlenose, spotted and spinner dolphins, plus a winter breeding ground for Pacific humpback whales.
From December through March, the projects operates whale watching excursions designed to document cetacean sightings, particularly humpback whales. On board, the team of marine scientists are supported by conservation enthusiasts who fund the operation, collect data on whale sightings and take photographs of the whales’ tails for individual identification. This technique, known as photo-identification, enables the team to record the natural history of individual whales and to understand fundamental aspects of their behavioural ecology like abundance, movements and habitat preferences.
The information collected is crucial for the implementation of whale conservation and management plans that are used to lobby local government on public policy, with the long term goal to establish a “shelter area” for humpback whales.
The whale conservation project also provides training to local fisherman on disentanglements of dolphins and whales from their nets, as well as working with schools and the community to educate on environmental issues.
Zac was our first volunteer supporting the project in 2017. Read Zac’s diary entry on his placement.
The Whale Conservation Communications volunteer will work closely with the Director to help develop and improve all aspects of the communications for the project. In particular there is a need to help build followers and awareness of in social media channels, so as to create maximum impact in subsequent campaigns in the areas of conservation and ecotourism.
You will help communicate the goals of the organisation, work with partners, report on research activity, draft and edit publications, presentations, fact sheets and press releases, as well as drive the social media and website content channels.
This will offer the rare opportunity to develop your graphic design, writing, presentation, communication and creative skills in the context of a marine conservation project. You will be largely office based, although as part of the team you need to understand and participate in the research activity so as to better promote it and to build content for the social media networks.
The area has a large fishing industry, a substantial commercial port and a growing tourist industry, all of which place significant pressure on the local marine environment. The economic and cultural challenges of Mexico mean that there is still a lack of awareness and policy around environmental threats, so by gathering data on the cetacean population, this projects helps inform government of the incredible natural resources they have and provides support to local policy development on whale conservation.
Mexico is a beautiful country with a diverse environment, ranging from high arid desert to dense tropical rain forest. As for the Mexicans themselves, they're amazing people who love their country and will do all that they can to help you., Turtle conservation, Mexico