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    Animal Experience International: Dolphin Conservation in Croatia

    Animal Experience International: Dolphin Conservation in Croatia


    • Listing Type: Gap Year Programs
    • Program Delivery: Residential
    • Destinations: Croatia
    • Credit Awarded: None
    • Program Length: Two Weeks
    • Start Month: April, May, June, July, August, September, October
    • Category: Environmental Conservation
    • Selective: No
    • Gender: Coed
    • Ages: 16, 17, 18, 19+, 19
    • Housing: Student Apartment
    • Accreditation: Gap Year Association - Program
    • Affiliation: Gap Year Association
    • Financial Aid: Not Available
    • Minimum Cost: $1,000 - $2,999
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    Dolphins need your help! This organization monitors a group of dolphins found in the Adriatic Sea. The information collected forms a baseline for conservation plans. Volunteers and marine biologists work together to observe the dolphins and record findings. By working closely with biologists, volunteers become “citizen scientists” directly involved with dolphin conservation.

    Dolphin watching and data collecting for conservation

    Conservation and research volunteers are needed right now to help protect the last resident Bottlenose Dolphins in the north-eastern Adriatic Sea. Bottlenose Dolphins are at risk due to an increase in human activities. Deaths occur from fishing and the accidental trapping of dolphins in nets, loss of habitat quality, water pollution - especially plastics and heavy metals in the water, and rising underwater sound. The global population trend of Bottlenose Dolphins is not completely understood, but the Mediterranean subpopulation is vulnerable and continues to decrease. But there is hope for these fascinating and intelligent animals.

    Our partner in Croatia has come to the aid of the dolphins. This organization began as a collaboration between the Slovenian Museum of Natural History, local biologists and scientists from several international universities. Their main aim is to monitor the dolphins and use the information collected to form a baseline for conservation plans.

    The dolphin conservation work is based out of a scenic seaside village on the Istria peninsula in the north-eastern Adriatic, which is a semi-enclosed sea in the Mediterranean. Croatia, which joined the European Union in 2013, is just across the Adriatic from Venice, Italy. Much of your time will be spent off the coast, in a boat observing the dolphins.


    This is an 11 day placement. Mornings are spent analyzing new data, and volunteers help enter information from the previous evening into the database and transcribe the notes made while watching the dolphins. The afternoon is spent in the boat watching the dolphin pods and recording the findings. The group stays with the dolphins as long as possible, sometimes returning as late as 8:30 pm. One day of the trip will be a full day excursion to explore beautiful Istria, while another full day is dedicated to learning about marine mammals, and in particular about the Bottlenose Dolphins.

    You will be living in a volunteer apartment that you share with the other volunteers. All food is provided, but cooking and cleaning are shared responsibilities between team members. Bedding can be provided for an additional 5 Euros or you can bring your own. There is cell phone service in the village, and free wifi is available at the research base until 10 pm at night.  


    Pick up and drop off (at the local bus station), accommodation, meals, on-site training, donation to Placement Partner, AEI Travel Manual, emergency support while at placement, carbon credits to offset 3 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, premium Individual Travel Insurance (up to $500, 000 USD in emergency medical coverage), 24/7 travel and emergency assistance, and enrolment with the Global Travel Academy to earn a certificate in International Volunteering. This 3-hour online course is curated by travel professionals and is designed to help you get the most out of your adventure. 

    Does not include:

    Flights, entry visa costs (if applicable), international and domestic airport taxes, immunizations and medications (if needed).