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Whale time in Cabo

Date: 11/21/2016

Big excitement for BCS as first sighting of grey whales in Laguna Ojo del Liebre indicates start of season...

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Cabo whale season ends with only one entangled whale

Date: 5/19/2016

Only one whale entanglement in Cabo but mass stranding of 25 whales in Playa Bufeo, Ensensada.

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La Niña affecting gray whales

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Whale season is now well underway in Cabo. And CONANP have just  done the fifth count of the season in the El Vizcaino whale sanctuary - the world’s most important breeding ground for gray whales.

 

So far, a total of 1521 gray whales have been recorded in the waters of Ojo del Liebre and San Ignacio. Of these, 601 are calves (one was an albino!) and 920 are adults.

 

Hard to believe such a healthy increase in the world population of gray whales, when they were in danger of extinction just a few decades ago.

 

Although these numbers are really encouraging, they are quite a bit less than last year (when Feb had the highest count for 20 years.)  But the fluctuation can be explained. Quite simply, it is due to the effects of "La Niña" and El Niño cycles.

 

Water temperatures during "La Niña" seasons tend to be cooler. And the whales tend to travel a bit further south to find warmer waters to give birth. So, the numbers are a bit lower.

 

The opposite happens in the El Niño seasons. Water temperatures tend to be higher, and are perfect for breeding. So, larger number of whales stop in the waters of Ojo de Liebre and San Ignancio to give birth.  

 

But Jorge Urbán, a professor and researcher at the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur (UABCS) whose work is supported by the WWF Foundation, says this fluctuation is nothing to worry about. 

 

He points out that with the general trend of climate change, seas are getting warmer, so whales will remain further north most of the time. And the decrease only happens during a colder "La Niña" season, which occurs once every 3-7 years.

 

And he highlights the warmer waters in Magdalena Bay, 280 km further south, where the numbers have stayed almost the same.

 

If you are lucky enough to be in Cabo before the end of the season, don’t miss seeing the whales. Truly a phenomenal sight. There are loads of whale watching tours available. But make sure you go with a licensed provider.

 

Two of our favorites are Cabo Trek, who provide a marine biologist on every tour to making it especially educational.  Or Pisces, for a luxury sunset tour to see the calves at play with their mums.

 

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