Whalesharks are to La Paz, like coconuts are to Palm trees. Or something like this. There’s a lot of them here.
Whalesharks visit the La Paz Bay each winter to grow up in the safe, protected waters. They come here to eat krill, chill and visit the waters of the Magote daily. Unfortunately for the whalesharks, some boats aren’t aware of their presents in these waters and refuse to obey the laws to slow down in these WS frequented waters. And luckily for us, it’s already June and the whalesharks are still around. Historically the WS “season” starts in October and ends in March or April. Not this year! According to our good friends and whale shark biologist, Deni Ramirez, they are still here because there is still food. And they won’t leave until the food is gone!
Well we got a call one night last month to see if we could help document a whaleshark that had been found badly wounded. Of course, we could help and went out the next day with people from ROC and SeaWatch.org to try to find the poor gentle giant. We did.
We prefer to highlight the positive stories of the marine world, but I do believe while negative, sad and awful this image is- it also can be a powerful image if used in the right way.
This is actually just a screen shot from the video we took. So the resolution is low but you get the point. This image, along with the video footage of this whaleshark and an interview we shot made it on the nightly news here in La Paz and Cabo. There was also a few press releases and articles that made it out. You can see them HERE and the video HERE.
My hope is that a few more people are more aware now and can help out to make sure these gentle giants don’t sustain injuries like this again. With the help of Deni and Tiburon Ballena Mexico, whaleshark injuries from boats have gone down 66% in the area. So there has been some definitely positive impacts on this area, but more needs to be done.