Tag Archive | "gray whales"

Crispin Mendoza “The Whale King” and Ori

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The Promise of Ecotourism

Save the Whales Again may be an international battle cry, but the movement to save the gray whales that migrate to Mexico is practical and urgent. Their yearly journeys to the coast of Baja California, once thought to have been made safe, are becoming dangerous once more, despite the gray whales recent (1995) status as unendangered. The situation puts the whales at risk again because not enough has been done over the past 15 years to ensure their future. If your list of one of the things to do before you die includes to visit Mexico and see the gray whales frolic in Magdalena Bay, you can help support sustainable tourism, as well as the region’s quality of life by supporting Pax Terra’s plan to create a sustainable tourism initiative for Baja. We can become a primary source for ecotourism information and encourage visitors from around the world to come to the lagoon complex off the coast of Mexico. This will provide an alternative means of livelihood for fishermen and others whose work may make the region inhospitable to the gray whale. The quality of life for those who live near the Baja cost—and ours—will be significantly enhanced by the growth of a sustainable ecotourism industry.

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Gray Whale Facts

To understand the importance of the gray whale, there are a few whale facts we need to know. Whale facts are in short supply among the general population, most of whom have probably learned all they know about whales from the Save the Whales news stories or Disney cartoons. Among the endangered whales of the world, the gray whales are a particularly important group. The save the whales movement has been successful in making a secure habitat for the gray whales, but they are again in danger and need our help. This will benefit not only endangered whales, but society in general. Here are some gray whale facts:

  • All whales are mammals, more closely related to cows than to fish—no one who knows anything at all about whales is likely to call them fish today.
  • They are warm-blooded, breathe air and give birth to live young.
  • Adult gray whale females mate every other year and are pregnant for more than a year.
  • Calves are born in January or February, and they can be up to 12 feet (4m) long and weigh 2,000 pounds (900 kg).
  • The Eastern Pacific population of gray whales, including the Baja-bound population, has the longest migration of any mammal, traveling up to 10,000 miles (16,000 km) round trip from summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chuchki Seas in Alaska to the winter breeding and calving grounds in Baja California.
  • A large population of gray whales uses the Northern portion of the lagoon complex of Magdalena Bay for reproduction, calving and nursing each winter.
  • The noise of boats in the lagoon complex has a negative effect on the mating, calving, and nursing of the gray whales who migrate to and from Magdalena Bay.
  • The Eastern Pacific gray whales have made a remarkable recovery as a result of legal protection but remains endangered, despite being removed from the endangered whales list in 1995.
  • The gray whale was once a common sight on the coasts of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans but the Atlantic population had been hunted to extinction by the 1700s and in the early 1900s it seemed that the two Pacific populations (Eastern and Western) would follow.
  • The gray whales, despite their early reputation as “devil fish” earned from fighting to protect their young from whalers, are actually quite friendly to tourists, and if they are unmolested they will attract large numbers of ecotourists.

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