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What to expect when working as a great white shark conservation volunteer

The Great White

Films like Jaws have had a huge impact on the public’s perception of the great white shark. Feared by most, this apex predator is greatly misunderstood and considered by some as the man-eaters of the sea.

Did you know that sharks kill 12 people per year, while humans kill 11,417 sharks per hour?

This predator plays an important role in helping to keep populations of marine species at the right level and though they have a fearsome reputation, there have been very few recorded shark attacks since records began.

RELATED: Discover great white shark conservation projects

Sadly, this is not the case the other way around. Humans kill over 100 million sharks (not just great whites) each year, a rate which is simply unsustainable.The Great White

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There are a number of threats that sharks face. These include: the barbaric practice of finning (removing the fins of sharks before throwing them back into the sea where they will not survive) and killing sharks by accident during mass commercial fishing operations.

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Tracking the exact numbers of great white sharks is difficult as they inhabit many of the world’s oceans, but there are thought to be just 3,200 left in the wild. Action is needed now if we are to change the fortunes of great whites and stop irreversible decline.

The Great Projects has a unique great white conservation project which offers volunteers the opportunity to get face to face with these huge marine predators which can reach six metres and up to 2,000 kilograms.

Did you know that you are more likely to die from a falling coconut than from a shark attack?

The project is based in the waters around South Africa, home to much of the world’s great white population. Volunteers made up from students, eco-tourists and conservationists will not only be helping to preserve this fascinating creature, but will also have the opportunity for thrilling up close encounters.

RELATED: Discover great white shark conservation projectsThe Great White

Here’s just a few of the things you’ll be doing as a great white conservation volunteer.

Great white shark cage diving

One of the most popular parts of the volunteer scheme is up close encounters with great whites during cage dives. An important part of helping great whites is recording observations and behavior. After learning how to get in and out from the cage, you’ll spend time underwater noting sizes, sex, markings and behavioral actions of the sharks.

Great white data collection

Time out of the water won’t be wasted. You’ll be taught how to collect and record information about sharks from the boat. You’ll also learn about shark behavior, history, biology, status and conservation initiatives through a series of lectures.

Seamanship and boat skills

As the majority of work is done at sea, it’s important the volunteer understand basic seaman skills and boat handling skills. These will include the general upkeep of the boat, maintenance of equipment, anchor positioning, deployment of the cage, safe crewing practices and more.

Encouraging environmental practices

A vital part of the project is helping to educate the public on conservation. A new initiative called Swap Shop encourages and promotes environmental awareness, sustainable practices and recycling. Children are encouraged to collect recyclables from home which they earn points from that can be used to buy stationary and school clothes.

Always on the lookout for volunteers to donate their time and money to this praiseworthy cause, the Great White Project offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get closer to these wonderful animals and make a real difference in their ongoing existence.The Great Projects

Proudly sponsored by The Great Projects

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