French English

Press Release, April 2007

Cruises to study and preserve the Mediterranean cetacean

In 2007, ecovolunteers from Cybelle Planète will be able to participate in projects for the study of Mediterranean whales and dolphins. 11 weeks in total are organized from the end of June to the beginning of September, each taking place aboard a sailboat. Every week a group of ecovolunteers 6, accompanied by a scientific guide and a skipper,

leave observe cetaceans in the Pelagos marine sanctuary. This study involved in a long-term research program, conducted by the écoOcéan institute specializing in cetology. The latter is to assess the impact of marine traffic on whales and dolphins of the sanctuary.

Who can join the project?
The yards of eco-volunteering are open to all adults, no special qualifications are required. Participants will be trained and supervised by a scientific guide. The data collected during these cruises have been specifically thought to be both applicable by non-scientific people (but supervised) and exploited scientifically.

Progress of projects
Each shipyard lasts one week and takes place aboard a sailboat 15 meters. Most of the time the crew stays at sea, one or more nights off are expected. The boat will also stop, depending on needs and weather, at the harbor or in the creeks of the Port Cros National Park. Work starts on Saturday and ends the following Friday in St Mandrier (Var). Ecovolunteers participate fully in life on board (shopping, preparing meals, household chores, night shifts ...) or the atmosphere is quickly very family. The experience will be enriching for both a human and a scientific level.

Study site
The Pelagos sanctuary is an area protected by an agreement signed in 1999 between France, Italy and Monaco for the protection of marine mammals and their habitat. It extends from the peninsula of Giens to the south of Tuscany and to the north of Sardinia. This huge area is very rich in plankton and particularly frequented by cetaceans.

What species?
Several species of cetaceans are present in the sanctuary during the summer period, the most impressive being the fin whale, the second largest animal on earth with about twenty meters long on average. It is also observed sperm whales, pilot whales and several species of dolphins. Almost 1700 animals were observed during the 2006 season.

Usefulness of ecovolunteers
The scientists from the ecoOcéan Institute have started their research program in 2005. The latter could not take place without the valuable help of ecovolunteers. They participate in the data collection, many people are constantly making observations from the deck of the boat from sunrise to sunset and throughout the summer season! The amount of data collected is an invaluable source for researchers who can not bring together such a "workforce" over such a long period. In addition, the eco-volunteers themselves fund their stays and thus contribute materially to the project by allowing, among other things, the rental of a sailboat and the remuneration of a professional skipper ....

Stories of ecovolunteers

"It was a lively and warm experience with real contact with cetaceans. Thomas, seven 2006

"The miracle happened, turtles, dolphins, pilot whales, sperm whales and other remora fish and birds. Even in my dreamed I never imagined to see so many ... Thanks for these moments that I would be more chance to live. "Gabriel August 2006

"What is more important to do today, remember to note that they (the whales) are there and make that information still happens even on the crowded beaches of tourists, in the offices of administrations, in television sets that are taken into account the existence and survival of these giants who are our cousins ​​peaceful. "Sébastien July 2006

"I have lived magical moments that will remain engraved in my memory and now lead me to disseminate information about me to preserve this marine sanctuary and there is still much to do to preserve our beautiful planet and its treasures ... "Pat. July 2006

Cybelle Planète
Cybelle Planet is a non-profit association created in 2005. We offer our members to participate in eco-volunteering projects, organized in partnership with specialists in biodiversity. The association organizes each summer construction sites for the study of whales and dolphins of the Mediterranean in the south of France. We also offer opportunities for eco-volunteering everywhere around the world including through the International Network of eco-volunteering: Ecovolunteer, we are the French representative.

Our association was quoted in the final scientific report on the Pelagos whale-watching as the only French organization whose cetacean watching trips are entirely designed around recognized research programs