Gray whale watching in Baja California Sur 2020 to 2021 Season
Mulegé, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Although the season for gray whale watching in Baja California Sur began on December 15, 2020, it was not until a few days before Christmas that the first specimens were observed in Laguna San Ignacio and in Ojo de Liebre. Six specimens have been seen, but the rest of the herd is expected to arrive in the next few days.
In addition, according to fishermen in the area, a humpback whale has been seen for the second consecutive year entering Laguna San Ignacio, following the schools of mackerel, which are also extremely abundant for the second season.
However, among tourism service providers there is concern about cancellations, especially by European tourists. Nor is there great expectation in the arrival of tourists from the United States.
The capacity of the boats is 50% of their capacity, which is imposed in the Epidemiological Traffic Light and allows up to 8 tourists per boat, which is not very profitable for the activity, says José Varela, service provider in Laguna San Ignacio.
The income generated by the activity in the Benito Juárez Ejido, which is the main place where gray whale watching is offered, allows paying Social Security for 90 peasant families, representing around 400 beneficiaries of medical services.
In this regard, the community leader, Abe Morán, warned about the danger that for the first time, in more than 30 years, families will be left without the possibility of accessing health services.
On the other hand, tourism service providers do not rule out the presence of underweight specimens, as happened in the 2018-2019 season; also, more mortality is expected in the organisms.
Regarding this last phenomenon, the researcher from the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur, Alejandro Gómez Gallardo, highlighted that in 1990 the death of the specimens was attributed to the presence of the phenomenon known as El Niño and La Niña in the north pole.
Finally, the sighting of these specimens originates during several months, in the sanctuaries of Ojo de Liebre, San Ignacio and Bahía Magdalena, being their main congregation sites.
It should be noted that, this weekend, a video of a humpback whale was released in the vicinity of the municipality of La Paz, which generated a large number of comments, some highlighting that there will be less harassment of animals.
Photo by: Oscar Ortiz
Information provided by Elías Medina, El Sudcaliforniano 29 December 2020.