The return of the gray whale to Baja California Sur

Coming from the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in Alaska, they are up to 15 meters long and weigh an average of 30 tons

Mulege. Mexican tourism workers and their clients have once again rejoiced with the visit of the colossal Gray whale. The reduction of covid-19 infections allows them to recover income and realize the desire to meet the cetacean.

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‘It’s the best day of my life. He had dreamed of whales before (…), he really wanted to be “near them, Wilbert, a Mexican tourist, told AFP about these animals that travel about 9,000 kilometers for three months to mate in the waters. warm waters of the west coast of the peninsula of Baja California and the Gulf of California.

Coming from the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in Alaska, they are up to 15 meters long and weigh an average of 30 tons.

‘The Whales, They gave us a lot of emotion, ‘added Wilbert, who traveled from Oaxaca (south) to the Gray Whale Sanctuary of the El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve, in Mulegé, Baja California Sur (northwest).

Unlike many other countries, Mexico has not restricted tourism and was the third most visited destination in 2020. However, it did suspend non-essential activities for part of the past year, including nautical tourism.

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In particular, the government canceled in March 2020 boat trips to observe these cetaceans (Eschrichtius robustus), which show their gigantic body before diving to the amazement of visitors.

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But due to the decline in the spread of the virus, at the beginning of the sighting season – from January to April – the government allowed the vessels to travel with 30 percent occupancy, which was later increased to 50 percent.

“We kept the jobs and we hope to get out, if not with a profit, (being able) to pay off some of the debts,” Luis Enrique Achoy, from Malarrimo Eco-Tours, a whale watching company, told AFP.

Increase in sightings

Baja California It is at a yellow traffic light, third in the epidemiological risk scale for the coronavirus, which has claimed almost 203 thousand lives in Mexico.

Achoy assures that the number of whales observed in the El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve increased in the current season.

‘Their pattern is the same and really the problems they have with humans are still there, the maritime routes (…), that was not removed with the pandemic, they remained the same’, but even so “we had from 1,500 to 1,000 700 whales, a little above average, ‘added Achoy.

Naman Domínguez, fisherman and tour guide with 27 years of experience in this activity, was one of those harmed by the restrictions

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‘It did affect us. Right now it is handling six, seven people per boat maximum, due to the healthy distance (…) but everything is being fixed, everything has been improving little by little. As the level (of infections) has decreased, tourism has increased, ‘he celebrates.

The gray whale, which was endangered at the beginning of the 20th century, feeds on crustaceans in the Bering Sea during the boreal summer and mates in winter in the Ojo de Liebre, San Ignacio and Magdalena Bay lagoons of Baja California. South, although some do it on the way.

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“We were able to touch them, see the mother with her baby and the two of them were there playing for a good time with us,” said Mexican Claudia Gaitán.

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