Who We Are

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A group of dedicated conservationists created the Large Marine Vertebrates Project (LAMAVE)  in 2010 to support the protection of marine wildlife in the Philippines through scientific research and education.

LAMAVE was originally pioneered by Physalus, an Italian non-profit organization founded in 2008 that works to protect the environment through marine conservation initiatives.  Today, LAMAVE represents a collaborative effort between Physalus (an Italian non-profit organization) and the Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines (a Philippine non-profit corporation).

Our projects, located throughout the Philippines, represent a coordinated conservation effort that works to protect sharks, rays, turtles, and cetaceans against threats like overfishing, habitat destruction, and unsustainable tourism.  We work closely with national and local governments, communities, and tourists to ensure the conservation of animals and the protection of their habitats.  Using proven scientific data collection methods, we are gaining a greater understanding of the species abundance, distribution, habitat utilization, and key threats facing large marine animals in this region.  We use this information to understand the pressures on these animals and to take specific, focused action to protect them.

Since LAMAVE began working in the Philippines, we’ve achieved a lot.  In 2013, we identified and described the largest aggregation of whale sharks in Asia.  We also used photo-identification and citizen science to connect whale shark aggregations across the country and internationally, and made the first photographic match between two Asian countries (Taiwan and the Philippines).  We were the first to report the presence of reef mantas in the Bohol Sea, and we identified this region as a new cetacean hotspot, representing some of the highest biodiversity on the planet. We are a key resource provider for local marine wildlife stranding networks, and have trained governments and hundreds of individuals on how to properly rescue stranded marine wildlife.  We’ve conducted comprehensive marine education classes in elementary and secondary schools, reaching over 15,000 students.  We frequently present the results of our research at international conferences, working groups, and government meetings, allowing scientific data to directly benefit the conservation of marine wildlife.

Our international staff has varied backgrounds, from veterinary medicine, to marine science, law, and statistics, but we all share a passion for marine conservation and the protection of marine animals.  Our team works tirelessly throughout the country, collecting scientific data while training the next generation of conservationists and raising awareness about the marine environment.


We can only make a difference for large marine animals with your help. Our work relies on independent funding and support, and your donation makes a tremendous impact on our projects. Your gift directly supports scientific research, marine protection, and much needed conservation efforts in the Philippines. 100% of every dollar donated goes directly to our research and conservation programs.