Dive Deeper Blog

Ecoconscious Organizations We Love: Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Center

April 30, 2019

At Stream2Sea, we are excited to support any mission that has ocean protection and education at its heart. As you may already know, that is part of why we love partnering with our various nonprofit partners. This month, we’d like to introduce you to the Whale Shark & Oceanic Research Center, an organization dedicated to protecting what we all love.

The Whale Shark & Oceanic Research Center (WSORC) is located on the Caribbean island of Utila. The center was originally established in the late 1990s for the purpose of monitoring Utila’s whale shark population; today they have a 20-year-old database consisting of every whale shark sighting that has been recorded since then. WSORC was registered as a nonprofit organization in 2008 and become a Honduran Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)  in 2010. Gaining an NGO status has made it easier for their center to get permits to conduct research projects. In turn, their work represents Utila — fantastic recognition for such a small island!

The center has expanded significantly since they started primarily monitoring whale sharks with an array of diverse ongoing research projects focusing on invasive species (lionfish) containment, coral restoration, mangrove restoration and reef health monitoring.

WSORC’s mission statement:

“To promote training, public participation and outreach efforts through research, education and conservation of coastal ecosystems and marine life.”

WSORC offers ‘Ocean Safari’ eco-tours for people to have the opportunity to experience the diverse wildlife that can be encountered across the waters of Utila. So far this year they have already encountered not only whale sharks, but dolphins, pilot whales, an oceanic white-tip shark and orcas!! These tours not only help with the funding required for researchers to monitor whale sharks, but they also serve as a community outreach opportunity to educate tourists and locals how to responsibly, respectfully and safely interact with these wild animals.

The center’s philosophy is based around education: that in order to make a difference in this world and inspire others to do the same, first you must teach people why changes need to happen and how they can actively contribute to the solution.

The whale shark center offers internship opportunities for aspiring marine biologists and conservationists from all walks of life — not just  scientists — and all ages above 18. You can apply for a one-week Citizen Science internship, a one-month Marine Conservation Internship and a 2-month Research Assistant placement. These internships are not only an educational tool to inspire future generations of conservationists, but they become a once-in-a-lifetime experience that interns will take forward with them in their careers.

If you are passionate about conservation, the ocean, diving and protecting what you love, then you can apply for an internship opportunity and become a unique part of the solution.

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Thank you for being part of a global movement to protect marine and other ecosystems from unsafe ingredients! What we put on our bodies DOES make a difference, and your positive choices help protect the planet!