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Off the coast of Costa Rica’s remote Osa Peninsula, spend your days at sea counting humpback whales, identifying them by their markings, plotting their movements, and recording their sounds. Your work will help to determine if the same whales return each year and whether the area should be designated as a marine sanctuary.

Humpback Whale Research: $2,690 for one week, including food, lodging, and airfare from San Jose, Costa Rica. (800) 326-7491, oceanicsociety.org.

Other Trips to Help Animals
Snow leopards in Central Asia 
Orangutans in Indonesia
Meerkats in South Africa
Elephants in Thailand 
Horses in California

Photo by “Mike” Michael L. Baird, flickr.bairdphotos.com. This story appeared in the November/December 2011 issue.