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Ballena Mysterioso: The Gray Whales of Laguna San Ignacio

Every year, the Gray Whales of San Ignacio Lagoon return to Baja, Mexico from a 12,430 Mile round-trip journey to their feeding grounds north of the Bearing Strait. After a hearty summer of feeding and gaining weight, they return to the sleepy Laguna San Ignacio to breed and give birth to calves in an environment free of predators like Orcas and sharks.

One of three main calving groups in in the Baja penninsula, the Gray Whales of Laguna San Ignacio are special because of the relationship they have developed with local fisherman over the last 40 odd years.

After being hunted to near extinction in the previous century, the Gray Whales were mostly forgotten about, until a group of researchers arrived in the 70′s to find that their numbers were improving. What they did not expect was that some of the whales were actually coming up to fishing pangas and interacting with the fisherman, allowing them to pet, scratch or kiss them. A few generations of whales later, and many of the mothers now actively participate in introducing their newborn calves to the outstretched arms of the lucky few that come here.

Many thanks to Ecotourismo Kuyima, the local ecotourism camp, for allowing us the time to film during these busy winter months. They are doing a fantastic job of preserving both the nature of their relationship with the whales, as well as that of the local environment.

Another big thanks to the Laguna San Ignacio Ecosystem Science Project, and especially the renowned Steven Swartz, for putting up with a couple of nosy filmmakers.



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