Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Center, Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras

The Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Center, referred to as WSORC, was established since 1997 on Utila. Our mission is to increase the presence and availability of researchers in Honduras that work with whale sharks. While also gathering data and carrying out research that will help us better understand Whale Sharks and define how to safely interact with them. 

We currently work through four main programs:

  • Research- Collecting data on whale shark individuals, oceanic conditions and the surrounding coral reefs to better understand their dynamics
  • Community Outreach- Promoting responsible whale shark tourism, raising of awareness of conservation issues, and educating local school children about the sea
  • Internship Program- Training volunteers with the skills necessary to pursue marine conservation careers in the Caribbean
  • Responsible Ecotourism- Expeditions that educate participants about the marine environment while actively contributing to conservation efforts on Utila.
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Location

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Nearby
Latitude: 16.097448 Longitude: -86.896814

Hours Open

9:00am - 5:00pm

Seasons Open

Year-round

Admission Fee (if any)

Please refer to our website, or contact us for information on opportunities or tours.

Actions taken to promote environmental or social sustainability

Thanks to the Honduran Environmental Department, we have the only research permit that allows us to study whale sharks.  WSORC have been gathering data on the whale shark populations on Utila since 1997, and have thus developed a comprehensive sightings database.

Thanks to our research, our team has been able to establish whale shark encounter guidelines which aim to promote responsible encounters. As of 2008 these guidelines were written into law, and must be followed any time you are lucky enough to find one of these majestic creatures.

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