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Whale and Dolphin Conservation | Full time

About the Employer

Frontier was founded in 1989 when, in association with the WWF, we helped set up a protected marine research park on a remote island in Tanzania. Since then, Frontier has grown to be the premier provider of gap year, volunteering, internships and ethical travel. With accredited Frontier qualifications through ASDAN and EDEXCEL, you can combine fun and adventure with the chance to improve your CV.

Internship Description

This is a Volunteer Internship. You will not receive any payment.
The Internship is for a period of up to 10 weeks based in Tenerife with departures every month.
The successful candidates will also be required to make a financial contribution of up to £2,000 (for 10 weeks) towards the cost of this experience.

Whale & Dolphin Conservation Internship

Tenerife is the largest of the seven stunning Canary Islands, which form this Atlantic Ocean archipelago. From the golden sandy beaches in the south to the dramatic lunar landscape of Mount Teide National Park and everything in between, Tenerife is a must see.

The Canary Islands are part of a community of Island chains situated in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. Along with Madeira, Cape Verde, the Azores and the Savage Islands, the Canaries are known as Macaronesia which literally translates as ‘Islands of the Fortunate’. The Canary Islands certainly are fortunate as they boast over 1700 species of plants and an assortment of animal, insect and marine life and out of the seven Canary Islands, Tenerife is the most biologically diverse due to its extraordinary climate and geography.

This little Island is home to two world heritage sites, one national park, the world’s third largest volcano and 42 natural protected spaces making it jam packed with places to explore. The enormous variety of activities and sites such as the medieval castle, unspoilt villages and fantastic diving will make your time in Tenerife a truly unique experience.

As one of the top whale and dolphin watching destinations in the world, the south-west coast of Tenerife is a truly outstanding location for the observation of free-living whales. There are resident communities of pilot whales and dolphins which remain here throughout the year, which can be observed on perhaps 80% of the days of the year. There is also a total of 24 other species migrating through Canarian waters at different times of the year from the giant blue whale to the majestic killer whale.

This project will give you the perfect opportunity to learn more about these fascinating creatures and gain valuable experience in conservation as you spend your days working alongside the Island’s threatened whale and dolphin populations.


Whales and dolphins are a natural resource in the Canary Islands, as is highlighted by the presence on more than 84 whale watching boats in the Islands, and about 500,000 whale watching tourists every year. Whales and dolphins are both beautiful species and have been around for millions of years so it is of extreme importance for humans to conserve and respect these creatures.

Currently, the whales and dolphins face a number of threats including habitat degradation, injury from ships and commercial fishing equipment, prey depletion caused by overfishing, and noise and health effects resulting from increased in-water pollution rates.

There are still a number of populations that are resident and reproduce in the region, and so the protection of these magnificent creatures is paramount. We need volunteers to join the project who are committed to ensuring 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. So if you are a marine life enthusiast and want to contribute to the important work of conservationists in Tenerife, then this is the project for you!


After initial training and induction, volunteers will be taking part in three main project activities that combine to build Frontier’s conservation efforts in Tenerife. These activities are:

1. Cetacean Surveys on local ethical whale watching boats where volunteers will collect data and photographs of the local populations of cetaceans. The data being collected includes population numbers and population health, interactions with other vessels and other animals, behaviour patterns, habitat conditions and effect on animals and fin identification. This information is then inputted into our database which supplements our knowledge of cetaceans and holds growing record of each individual on numerous species in Tenerife waters.

2. Community Outreach of the conservation efforts for cetaceans both in Tenerife and around the world by speaking to and informing tourists on the ethical whale watching boats, leafleting, completing and conducting questionnaires, working with the local whale watching industry to inform and raise awareness of the issues threatening whales and dolphins in Tenerife, informing tourists and other interested parties of the impact of tourism on the wildlife and overall working towards ethical tourism in the area.

3. Volunteers will also take part in Coastal Surveys in the local area to monitor boat and other vessel traffic, population numbers and behaviour, weather and environment conditions and impact, habitat health, fish farm activity, fish farm dependency by cetaceans and interactions between vessels and wildlife. This data helps to create a wider overall picture of the state of the whale and dolphin populations in Tenerife and the impact of tourism.

Frequency of these activities is dependent on season and numbers but every volunteer will get the chance to take part in each of these crucial activities that help to build a whale and dolphin-friendly Tenerife. These activities contribute to Tenerife’s expanding knowledge of the whale and dolphin populations, informing tourists and industry members and build Frontier’s on going conservation efforts on the island.

Qualifications Required

Good quality camera is essential!
Pair of binoculars
GPS application (for a smartphone)

Skills Required

Make a valuable and significant contribution to the conservation of vulnerable whale and dolphin species
Gain hands-on marine conservation experience
Explore incredible Tenerife
Create unforgettable memories and make lifelong friends

More Information


Location: Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Activities: Visual surveys on board whale watching boats. Take part in coastal expeditions in search of dolphins and monitoring boat traffic. Maintenance of cetacean identification catalogue. Identification of marine fauna. Raise public awareness of conservation issues in the Tenerife whale watching community. Matching of sighted whales and dolphins with cetacean catalogue.

Transport: Airport pick up available (extra cost applies)
Accommodation: Volunteer house


Before you go: Pre-departure support & documentation, Travel & medical advice & documentation, Advice on visas & equipment, Discounted medical kit, Free Frontier t-shirt, UK residential briefing weekend including food, accommodation and training (extra cost applies)

In-country: Accommodation, Two meals a day during weekdays, Project orientation and training, In-country emergency support, 24-hour international HQ backup, Airport transfer available (extra cost applies)



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