Galapagos whale shark – an outreach campaign proposal

//Galapagos whale shark – an outreach campaign proposal
Galapagos whale shark – an outreach campaign proposal 2017-08-06T11:21:07+00:00

Project Description

Whale shark in Galapagos Islands

Whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is the largest fish in the world and it is catalogued as a Vulnerable Species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

An inhabitant of warm and tropical seas, it is a very popular touristic resource among recreational divers all over the world. However, in some Asiatic countries, it is very appreciated for the quality of its meat, which has lead to the decline of its populations due to overfishing.

Whale sharks are known for carrying out long transoceanic migrations throughout their lifes, during which they get close to the shore for different and still not well known reasons. Some places like Gladden Spit in Belize, or Ningaloo Reef in Australia seem to be really important for this species, as large aggregations of these individuals can be found on a regular basis.

Similarly, Darwin’s Arch, located in the northernmost part of the Galapagos Archipelago (Ecuador), seems to be another especial place within the life cycle of this species. Every year between June and December large numbers of whale sharks can be found at this spot for reasons we still do not understand. However it is known that the majority of individuals that show up at this place are pregnant females, so it is believed that Darwin’s Arch may play an important role within their reproduction cycle.

Studying their movements

In 2011, researchers from the Galapagos National Park Service and the University of California-Davis, founded the Galapagos Whale Shark Project (GWSP) in order to study the little known migration patterns of this giant of the sea.

For this, they set up satellite tags on 40 whale sharks in order to track their movements and recorded approximately 100 sightings. By analyzing these data they could estimate the number of individuals that visit Darwin’s Arch every year and whether the same individuals repeated their visits over the years.

Our interest in this species goes back in time. Thus, after knowing the activities of this project we contacted A. H., one of the researchers of the project, to show him our interest in developing an outreach campaign that will contribute to the conservation of whale sharks.

One communication plan, two continents

After consulting the idea with the different representatives of the project, we agreed to carry out an outreach campaign based on the results obtained by the GWSP in the Tropical Eastern Pacific. With this campaign we wanted to achieve two main objectives. On one hand, help the GWSP with the dissemination of their outputs. On the other hand, raise awareness amongst Galapagos communities on the importance that these archipelago may have for the conservation of whale sharks.

The campaign was designed with the support of the members of the GWSP. The proposed contents of the campaign included conducting informative talks and workshops on different islands of the archipelago and developing educational materials to be distributed to local colleges and institutions.

In a joint effort, a fundraising proposal was written and presented to get the necessary funding to carry out the campaign and a communication plan was designed. For its implementation, we will need to split different tasks into two separated cores. On one hand, the coordination and production of the necessary materials will be carried out by us from Spain, our place of work. On the the other hand, the implementation of the talks and workshops and management of human and material resources will be provided by project representatives present in Galapagos.

Whale Shark Project Communication Proposal

Pending funding

Due to a funding shortage this campaign has not been developed yet. 

Leave A Comment