The Wildlife of Valle de los Cirios

Last May, WILDCOAST staff and interns took a trip to our private wilderness reserve, the Valle de los Cirios Natural Protected Area. In addition to surveying the protected properties, biological information was collected with “game-cams”. The cameras were installed last year and have been an efficient tool used to document the presence of wild animals while not disturbing their behavior or damaging their habitat.

The “game-cams” are activated by motion detection and have allowed us to photograph several species that inhabit the area such as coyotes (Canis latrans), bobcats (Lynx rufus),  mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos), brush rabbit (Sylvilagus bachmani) and hares.

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Saving Gray Whales and Responsible Whale Watching in Baja California

Photo by Eddie Kisfaludy

Photo by Eddie Kisfaludy

Gray whales have arrived in Baja California! Every winter these marine mammals visit the lagoons of Ojo de Liebre, San Ignacio and Bahía Magdalena to reproduce and give birth. Over the past 15 years, WILDCOAST has worked diligently to conserve gray whale habitat, train local whale watching guides in proper management techniques, and even help boat operators obtain less polluting outboard engines for their skiffs.

During their stay in the lagoons of the Baja California peninsula, whales are visited by thousands of tourists each year that want to get a glimpse of this majestic leviathans up close. Unfortunately, sometimes the desire to get close to whales, can sometimes stress the animals.

Therefore, in response to the growth of whale watching in Baja and in an effort to reduce impacts to these marine mammals, the Mexican government stablished strong whale watching guidelines (NOM- 131-SEMARNAT-2010). These guidelines are not only to regulate sightings, but to also promote the conservation of whale species, including the gray whale.

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Gray Whales Arrive in Baja’s Magdalena Bay

Ballena gris en PSC_ Costasalvaje

The gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) is one species of whales that was hunted mercilessly during the IX and early XX centuries and was taken to the verge of extinction. After many years and numerous conservation efforts the global  population of gray whales has recovered and there are now between 18,000 and 24,000 of these gentle giants.

Gray whales make one of the longest migrations of any mammal. They travel between 15,000 and 20,000 miles every year from their feeding grounds in the Arctic to and from the warm waters off the west coast of the Baja California Peninsula. At the end of the fall, gray whales begin their journey south where they will spend winter and the beginning of spring to give birth and reproduce in three coastal lagoons in Baja California Sur, Mexico.

Scammon’s lagoon, San Ignacio Lagoon and Magdalena Bay offer shelter to pregnant whales, newborn cubs and adults during winter months.  These sites have been and still are essential for the recovery and survival of the species.

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