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Bottlenose Dolphin Conservation

Zambratija, Croatia

Agency | GoEco

Help to protect the dolphin population in the Adriatic Sea, which has declined by approximately 50 percent in the last five decades.

The bottlenose dolphin population in the Adriatic Sea has declined by approximately 50 percent in the last five decades. The decline is largely the result of deliberate killings in the 1960s when dolphins were perceived as pests. Though the practice is now illegal, a further decline might be expected due to the rise in anthropogenic pressures, such as overfishing.

The organization has been researching bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the North-Eastern Adriatic Sea since 2001. The appreciation of these creatures is very high from a scientific point of view. But moreover, they are also mammals like us, with the same organized communities as us, and facing similar challenges to humans. Therefore, the researchers have dedicated their lives to the preservation of these bottlenose dolphins by trying to better 'understand them'.

This organization is currently the only one conducting dolphin research in the sub-region. Its work is crucial to understanding the factors influencing the local dolphin populations and to educating the public about preservation of the bottlenose dolphin. 

Your Contribution

Your work is important in helping to protect the dolphin population living in this sensitive marine ecosystem. During the first few days, you will attend morning lectures on topics such as the NGO efforts in protecting marine mammals and marine ecology. Throughout your placement, you will learn how to read and understand research data and actively help with dolphin conservation. Some of your tasks may include:

  • Dolphin observation
  • Data analyzing 
  • Entering data directly into the catalogue, including observation notes
  • Learning how to distinguish between dolphin species 
  • Helping in outreach for the establishment of the Dolphin Education Centre
Please note: Going out to sea for research is dependent on the weather conditions. If the weather is not favorable or the sea is above 3Bf, there will be on-land activities arranged instead.

Program length
The program length is min. 11 days with the option to extend.

Typical day

You will volunteer about 4-6 hours a day, 8 days out of 11. Your days will begin at 9 a.m. with a briefing of daily tasks during breakfast. After, you will analyze data from the field work and potentially enter data into the main catalogue.

Depending on the weather and as per the daily schedule, you will depart for field research and spend the rest of the day gaining valuable hands on experience with dolphins, out at sea. On a really good day, you could be out there until 21:00 p.m. (depending on the encounter success) and will thereafter return to the research base. In the evening, you will help cook a light dinner with the team, followed by the opportunity to engage in social activities or relax. Please note that you will not volunteer on the first and last day of your placement or on the day of the excursion.

Free-time activities

There will be at least one organized excursion during your project placement. Before or after volunteering you may have the chance to visit Brijuni National Park or Kamenjak National Park. There may also be an opportunity to visit one of these famous touristic towns: Poreč, Pula, Rovinj or Motovun (a typical Istrian village that resembles villages in Tuscany). In addition, there will be an organized walk under the stars on one night during your stay.

Lucky for you, Funtana is situated in an ideal geographical location as it only a few hours’ drive from most of the major European capitals. You can visit Venice, Dubrovnik (another Adriatic pearl town), Ljubljana (Slovenian capital) and Postojna cave (third biggest cave in the world). If you are interested in these particular adventures, you can ask your project coordinators upon arrival. 

You are also free to organize your own activities, such as morning exercises on the terrace or running on the beautiful pathways next to the sea. There may also be a bike or two available for your use (depending on availability). 


Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s).
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Swimming skills are mandatory, you should be enthusiastic and a team player. You need to speak basic English, German, Slovenian or Croatian.
Time Commitment
Regular working hours are hardly predicable. It mainly depends on the work force. Get in touch with GoEco straight ahead to get more infos about current to dos and objectives.

Suitable for


Any questions? Just ask. We at GoEco are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation

Included Services

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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by GoEco.
Services by GoEco
  • accommodation
  • food
  • internet
  • comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
  • at least one complementary volunteer excursion will be provided during your volunteer placement
  • local in-country team and 24h emergency support

You will stay in an apartment with other volunteers. There are only two shared rooms available, with one to three volunteers per room. Larger rooms may be shared with up to 3 other volunteers. Both rooms have a beautiful view over the sea and an open access to the terrace. Each room is equipped with bunk beds and a sofa-chair. There is also an air conditioner with cooling and heating capabilities in the apartment along with a western-style bathroom. The apartment’s entrance extends to a spacious terrace overlooking the surrounding area, which is a great place to hang out. In addition, there is a common room with a TV and computers for your use and enjoyment.

Wifi is available for free at the research base until 10 pm each night. A washing machine is available for 7€ per wash.

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

Three meals a day are included (mostly vegetarian). There will also be one night of grilling (a dinner party), and regular visits to a nearby supermarket to purchase snacks and other items for individual needs.

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Pula Airport (PUY) in Pula. We assist you to find cheap flights to Croatia.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Croatia provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Croatia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Croatia.
Costs (Prices in USD)
11 days (min. stay)
11 days (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Zambratija/Croatia between 11 days and 11 days. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. GoEco will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Croatia.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with GoEco during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

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