Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino

UNESCO World Heritage

Conservation Example (1993) by Whale Sanctuary of El VizcainoUNESCO World Heritage

A natural spectacle

The Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino (inscribed in 1993 on the World Heritage List) is a serial property on the Pacific Coast in the northernmost area of ​​Baja California Sur (Guerrero Negro).

Millenary Sudcalifornianas (1993) by Whale Sanctuary of El VizcainoUNESCO World Heritage

The coastal lagoons of Ojo de Liebre and San Ignacio are important reproduction and wintering sites for the grey whale, harbour seal, California sea lion, northern elephant-seal and blue whale. The lagoons are also home to four species of the endangered marine turtle.

Gray Whale Sanctuary (1993) by Whale Sanctuary of El VizcainoUNESCO World Heritage

The gray whale has depigmented areas resulting from the balanus. Balanus are tiny animals that stick to their skin.

Science and Research Scientific Research and Facilities (1993) by Whale Sanctuary of El VizcainoUNESCO World Heritage

Scientific research and facilities

Due to the importance of this gray whale sanctuary, every year scientific researchers cense the population and keep a strict control of the number of births.

Science and Research Population Control (1993) by Whale Sanctuary of El VizcainoUNESCO World Heritage

At the beginning of the 20th century there were little more than 100 gray whale specimens; indiscriminate hunting diminished the population year after year.

Science and Research Whale birth control (1993) by Whale Sanctuary of El VizcainoUNESCO World Heritage

However, thanks to the protectionist measures of countries like Mexico, the species was removed from the list of endangered species.

An Encounter to Remember Whale watchingUNESCO World Heritage

Whale watching


Each year, from February through March, Laguna Ojo de Liebre is one of the favorite meeting points for thousands of tourists from all over the world, who visit to enjoy a friendly encounter with the gray whale.

The Friendly Gray Whale (1993) by Whale Sanctuary of El VizcainoUNESCO World Heritage

Most of the physical contacts with whales happen because they approach freely as part of their friendly behavior.

A contact to remember (1993) by Whale Sanctuary of El VizcainoUNESCO World Heritage

When approaching the boat, the whale and its young calf normally offer great friendly gestures: nice somersaults, visual contact and they show the abdomen, fin and tail.

A Traveler of Nature (1993) by Whale Sanctuary of El VizcainoUNESCO World Heritage

The Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino contains the most important breeding grounds of the Eastern subpopulation of the North Pacific Grey Whale. Its protection is intricately linked with saving the species from extinction and recovery after near-collapse due to excessive commercial whaling. Many environmental factors, such as depth, temperature, nutrients and salinity coincide in Ojo de Liebre and San Ignacio lagoons to make them ideal mating, breeding and calving grounds.

Fishing boats (1993) by Whale Sanctuary of El VizcainoUNESCO World Heritage

El Vizcaino’s status as a Marine Protected Area (established in 1972), then as a World Heritage site, helped spur laws to monitor boat traffic and fishing in the lagoons.

An incredible World Heritage Site (1993) by Whale Sanctuary of El VizcainoUNESCO World Heritage

The Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino has the potential to serve as an example of integrated management of natural resources.

Credits: Story

This exhibit was created by Fideicomiso de Turismo Baja California Sur
visitbajasur.travel/en

More on the Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino and World Heritage:
whc.unesco.org/en/list/554

Photos: Visit Baja California Sur

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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