Volunteer with Dolphins

Volunteering with dolphins is your chance to play an important role in the protection of these fascinating animals. Dolphins are known for their playful nature. Unfortunately, this can make them easy prey for hunters and they can end up as by-catch in fishing nets. As dolphin numbers have declined worldwide, it is time to take action and protect this precious wildlife species. Apply today and work with dolphins at a marine life project. You can help to save these highly intelligent mammals as a dolphin conservation volunteer. Join one of the best dolphin conservation programs in Africa or Europe in order to work with dolphins and maybe even whales! What are you waiting for? Grab your wet suit and let’s go!

Marine Research and Whale Shark Conservation

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Work in the field to help Whale Shark conservation!

Coastal Conservation, Research & Education Helper

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There are loads of activities we offer during your stay with us!

Volunteer work with Dolphins

Dolphins are truly fascinating marine animals. They can be found in all oceans of the earth and some species even live in big rivers like the Amazon! Dolphins are very social animals and often live in big groups that are called pods. These pods can have up to hundreds of members and they engage in hunting efforts together. Their social and playful nature is also the reason that dolphins can often be seen playing with each other and engaging with other marine animals and even small boats. This is just one of their fascinating and endearing traits. If you want to help to protect these highly intelligent animals you should become a dolphin conservation volunteer!

As a volunteer, you will help protect dolphins from the many dangers they face, along with plenty of other jobs. To name just one example, getting involved in monitoring and research projects is a very important part of the work. There is much that we have yet to learn about these marine animals. This is why research is important and needs to be carried out on a large scale.

If marine conservation is one of your passions and you have a special interest in dolphin conservation, you have definitely come to the right place. Read on to find out what your job as a dolphin conservation volunteer involves and where the different projects are located. You will quickly find out that working at a dolphin conservation project abroad is incredibly rewarding and that you will learn a lot about yourself as well. In what follows, we would like to give you an overview of dolphin conservation projects worldwide and of the tasks, the volunteering work will include.

Dolphin Conservation in 2021

The worldwide dolphin population has been shrinking continuously over the past decades, but you can become active and do your part to stop this development if you decide to volunteer abroad. As most dolphin conservation projects do not receive a lot of funding from the governments, your help will be even more appreciated. Through your hands-on voluntary work, you will be able to make an immediate impact on a local scale.

Why are Dolphins Endangered?

Dolphin conservation is part of a large body of marine conservation work around the world. The focus lies on the research of the dolphins’ habitat and behavior to develop ways to protect them from the many threats they are facing, such as:

  • rising water levels due to climate change
  • pollution of the oceans
  • unregulated hunting
  • overfishing causing food depletion and bycatch of dolphins
  • continuously growing number of boats and ships

What Dolphin Species are There?

Depending on where your dolphin conservation volunteer work takes you, you will find yourself watching and monitoring different kinds of dolphin species. In fact, there are more than 40 different kinds of dolphins around the world, and most of them are considered endangered. While most of these dolphins call the ocean their home, there are also some dolphin species that live in rivers, like the pink dolphins that can be found in the Amazon. However, river dolphin conservation projects are a rare occurrence. Instead, you will likely come across the following dolphin species during your time as a dolphin conservation volunteer:

The dolphins you will observe in Europe are:

  • Striped dolphins
  • Bottlenose dolphins
  • Risso’s dolphins
  • Short-beaked common dolphins

It is important to know that some projects that specialize in marine conservation do not only involve dolphin conservation but include whale and shark conservation as well. This means that you could get to work with a variety of marine animals apart from dolphins, like killer whales, humpback whales and many more, depending on your program choice.

Best Places to Volunteer with Dolphins

Volunteering in dolphin conservation means that you will be stationed somewhere near the ocean. This means you will get the opportunity to take in everything the ocean has to offer during your free time. From snorkeling to swimming or just chilling on the beach. Being close to the ocean means that you will get to enjoy yourself outside of your research and volunteer work.


Many of the current projects are located in Africa, either on the Atlantic or the Indian coast. Tanzania and Mozambique, for example, offer a vast array of marine life which makes them every marine biologist’s dream. You might be surprised to hear that South Africa isn’t only great for watching animals on safari, but also in the sea. Located halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, the Plettenberg Bay is the ideal spot to observe various species of dolphins and other marine mammals. That’s why multiple projects with different focus have their research centers here. Plettenberg Bay is also part of the famous Garden Route, which makes it great for hiking and discovering nature in your free time.


This might come as a surprise, but the second focus area for dolphin conservation is the Mediterranean Sea and hence Europe. You have the choice between various projects here, for example

  • on Ischia island off the Italian coast
  • on small Greek islands in the Aegean Sea
  • or on the coast of Croatia

The island of Tenerife that belongs to Spain is located off the northwestern coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. For this reason, the number of dolphin species is even bigger here and you also have good chances to spot killer whales and giant blue whales.

How can I Help Save Dolphins?

The best way to actively help save dolphins is to volunteer! You can also financially support a dolphin conservation program or marine life organization. These organizations rely on funds to be able to continue their activities. Most importantly, you can help spread the word about the importance of dolphin conservation. Creating awareness will make the greatest impact. You can do this among the locals but also other tourists. The more people take action, the greater the change.

What Will I Do as a Dolphin Conservation Volunteer?

Observing dolphins will be one of your main tasks. Additionally, most of the projects focus on research and monitoring, as there is still a lot to discover about these stunning creatures of the sea. As part of a larger marine conservation effort, researchers are studying dolphins and their behavior in different situations. This research can help us understand what role dolphins play in the overall maritime ecosystem and how to protect them better in the future. Generally speaking though, you can expect the following tasks:

  • undertaking important observation and monitoring work
  • taking photographs of the dolphins
  • interacting with the tourists and raising awareness
  • going on coastal expeditions in search of dolphins feeding
  • working with the collected data

Please keep in mind that your dolphin conservation work is always going to depend on the current weather conditions. If the sea is rough, you might not be able to execute your usual tasks or go on a boat to observe the dolphins for days or even weeks. During this time you will spend your days:

  • making phone calls
  • engaging potential donors
  • educating tourists and locals
  • data recording and data entry

Moreover, the dolphin conservation project you’re working for might ask you to help prepare reports, which could be needed when applying for research funds and grants. Some dolphin conservation projects even have their own educational centers, where you can assist with classes. As marine biology is an important part of dolphin conservation, educating others and spreading your knowledge is a very helpful and effective measure.

In addition, your help with various dolphin watching boat tours as part of the classes could be required.

5 Benefits of Volunteering with Dolphins

Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

Watching dolphins roam free in their natural habitat is not the only perk of volunteering in dolphin conservation. It’s something on many people’s bucket list and remains a breathtaking sight.

Learn and Get Practical Experience

If you are interested in studying marine biology, a volunteer project working in dolphin conservation will be a great fit. You will gain hands-on experience and get a first insight into the daily work of trained marine biologists, which will certainly come in handy at a later point in your career. Being able to list this kind of work experience on your CV is another bonus and might help you land a maritime biology job.

Expand Your Horizons

Immersing yourself in a foreign culture and living abroad will definitely make you grow as a person and give you a different perspective. New experiences will give you the confidence to take on more adventures in the future. And let’s not forget that the time you spend as a dolphin conservation volunteer will also be incredibly fun! You will be able to swim and snorkel and experience the beauty of the ocean at the end of your workday.

Meet New People

The best part is that you will be surrounded by like-minded volunteers that share your passion for dolphin conservation. After working and living together for a while, these people might even become your close friends! This is also an excellent way to connect with the locals and understand their perspective on the situation.

Boost Your Resume

Volunteering is a great way to boost your resume. Future employers love hiring people that take initiative and responsibility. If you’re looking for a way to stand out, this is it and it will make definitely make for some interesting conversation during your interview!