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Volunteer with Great White Sharks in South Africa

By Laura Blake

Posted: 24th June 2014 15:32

For the ultimate adrenaline experience, courageous volunteers can go cage diving in South Africa – bringing them face to face with the great white shark.  Volunteers will be responsible for observing, monitoring and recording data on the animal’s sex, size, markings and behaviour whilst also being trained in different aspects of marine conservation.

If you have seen Jaws you may be wondering why anyone would dare to get close enough to a great white shark to try and help it.  The reality is that there have been more great white sharks slaughtered by humans than humans attacked by great white sharks.  These sharks have been ritually hunted for their teeth, their fins and are often a displayed as a trophy for sport fishing – it is estimated that this barbaric activity leads to the demise of up to 100 million sharks a year.

Great white sharks play a vital role at the top of the marine food chain.  If they were to become extinct there would be a drastic shift in the balance of the ocean and established food-webs would be altered, causing considerable and irreversible damage to the ecosystem.  These organisations work together to prevent the slaughter of great white sharks and develop our understanding of their behaviour.  By tracking their activity, they are able to reduce the risk of further shark attacks and attempt to create a world in which both sharks and humans can exist harmoniously. 

Most programmes offer placements that extend from one week to one month and recommend booking well in advance due to high demand.  Due to the nature of these organisations volunteers are required to pay a fee to cover their stay which usually includes: airport transfer, accommodation, one meal per day, training and a donation to the organisation.  Prices begin at around £545 for one week and increase accordingly depending on the duration of the stay.