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Articulos Boletines News

Rescatando Ballenas, Dic 2019

¿Sabías que rescatar a una ballena cuesta alrededor de $10,000 pesos?

Este mes de diciembre comenzó la temporada de ballenas y con eso las labores de la Red Nacional de Asistencia a Ballenas Enmalladas, RABEN.  En lo que va de la temporada se han realizado 3 rescates exitosos:

1) 14 de diciembre: el equipo RABEN Los Cabos libera a una ballena jorobada juvenil que se encontraba completamente envuelta en una red agallera o chinchorro.

2) 22 de diciembre: el equipo RABEN Bahía de Banderas libera a una hembra de ballena jorobada con red agallera en el rostro. La hembra iba acompañada de su cría, la cual estimamos tenía unas pocas semanas de nacida.

3) 24 y 26 de diciembre: los equipos RABEN San Blas y RABEN Bahía de Banderas atienden el reporte de una hembra de ballena jorobada, también con red agallera en el rostro y arrastrando más de 100mts de red. Esta hembra también tenía una cría. El equipo de San Blas inicia labores de rescate, en pleno día de Nochebuena, sin embargo, por comportamiento de la hembra y la dificultad y riesgo que presenta liberar a una ballena en compañía de su cría, no pudieron liberarla por completo. Como suele suceder en estos casos, se puso en alerta a los equipos RABEN cercanos y finalmente la ballena apareció en Puerto Vallarta el 26 de diciembre donde el equipo de Bahía de Banderas concluyó con éxito las labores de rescate.

¡Este es un buen ejemplo de cómo funciona nuestra red de equipos RABEN!

 

Tanto ECOBAC (Coordinación nacional de RABEN) así como todos los miembros RABEN, normalmente mantenemos un bajo perfil y evitamos las redes sociales y prensa en general, ya que esta labor la hacemos desinteresadamente y con la finalidad de ayudar a estos maravillosos cetáceos.  Sin embargo, el rescate del 26 de diciembre se llevó a cabo muy cerca de la costa por lo que no hubo forma de pasar desapercibidos, como normalmente hacemos.  Dimos varias entrevistas y con mucho gusto les compartimos el link al documental que realizó Televisa al respecto.

    Ver entrevista Televisa a Raben

En estos 3 rescates participaron miembros RABEN capacitados para estas maniobras, las cuales son bastante riesgosas.  Agradecemos a todos los miembros RABEN, no sólo los que participaron en estos rescates, ya que los 180 miembros de los 15 equipos RABEN están listos y en la mejor disposición para cuando las ballenas requieran de su ayuda

También agradecemos especialmente a los turoperadores que nos apoyaron a no perder de vista a las ballenas enmalladas en lo que las embarcaciones RABEN llegaron al rescate.  Agradecemos a la Secretaría Armada de México (SEMAR), Capitanía de Puerto, Protección Civil y Bomberos de Puerto Vallarta, PROFEPA delegaciones Jalisco y Baja California Sur, a la Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP) y a Opequimar Centro Marino.

 

Si este año que inicia quieres apoyarnos por favor hazlo con un donativo, los rescates y las herramientas que utilizamos son muy costosos. ¡Muchas Gracias!

DONA AQUí

Participantes de los 3 Rescates RABEN

Bahía de Banderas:
8ª. Zona Naval
Capitanía de Puerto de la Cruz de Huanacaxtle
CONANP
Protección Civil y Bomberos de Puerto Vallarta
PROFEPA Delegación Jalisco
ECOBAC
Ecotours de México
Explora Vallarta
Vallarta Adventures
Dolphin Adventure

Los Cabos:
PROFEPA Delegación Baja California Sur
Juan Alonso Montaño
Cabo Trek
CONANP

San Blas:
CONANP
6ª. Zona Naval de San Blas

Visita RABEN
¡Muchas gracias por ayudarnos a rescatar BALLENAS!

ECOBAC te desea un muy Feliz y Próspero Año Nuevo!

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Articulos Boletines News

Ballenas alimentándose en Bahía de Banderas

Queridos amigos de ECOBAC:

Algunos de ustedes recordarán que en la temporada 2011-2012 nuestras queridas ballenas jorobadas nos sorprendieron alimentándose en la Bahía de Banderas.

Ballenas jorobadas alimentándose en la Bahía de Banderas, temporada invernal 2011-2012.

 

Como es bien sabido las ballenas jorobadas se alimentan durante el verano en latitudes altas y en el invierno viajan a latitudes más tropicales a sus zonas de reproducción, como Bahía de Banderas, donde rara vez se alimentan.  Durante la época de reproducción las ballenas no tienen hambre gracias a su gran capa de grasa, así que cuando las vimos por primera vez alimentándose inmediatamente nos dimos a la tarea de recopilar la mayor información posible para tener un panorama completo de lo que estaba sucediendo.

Nunca pensamos que estaríamos registrando el evento de alimentación masivo de mayor duración de ballena jorobada en una zona de reproducción en el mundo.
Registramos un total de 26 registros distintos de alimentación en un periodo de 79 días entre diciembre 2011 y marzo 2012.  Las ballenas jorobadas alimentándose, eran en su mayoría adultos y se observaron de 1 a 50 ballenas comiendo en una misma área.

Esta no es la primera vez que se observan ballenas alimentándose en áreas de reproducción, ocasionalmente se han visto en el Golfo de California, Oaxaca, Brasil y Nicaragua entre otros lugares. Sin embargo, generalmente son ballenas solitarias, en su mayoría juveniles y normalmente se trata de eventos de alimentación espaciados entre sí.

 

 Debido a la relevancia de esta información es que decidimos hacer un artículo científico, el cual se publicó en
Revista Latin American Journal of Aquatic Mammals
el 30 de septiembre 2019.

 

En el artículo concluimos que la población de ballenas jorobadas del Pacífico Norte Oriental se alimentará de manera oportunista cuando haya recursos de presas disponibles, cambiando los patrones de migración y comportamiento para explotar con éxito las fuentes de alimentos disponibles para sobrevivir.

 

Ésta es la anchoveta de la cual se estuvieron alimentándo las ballenas jorobadas.

Las ballenas jorobadas pueden proporcionar información sobre las consecuencias biológicas de las fluctuaciones climáticas interanuales, fundamentales para las predicciones de los ecosistemas relacionadas con el cambio climático global.

Con la población de ballenas jorobadas de México ahora clasificada como “Amenazada” y la población de Centro América como “En peligro” (NOAA, 2016), es esencial que se investigue este fenómeno de alimentación regional, para ayudar en el manejo exitoso de la población y comprender mejor las consecuencias globales del cambio climático.

 

Si quieres aprender más sobre este interesante caso puedes consultar el artículo:

Frisch-Jordán, A., Ransome, N.L., Aranda-Mena, O and Romo-Sirvent, F. (2019) Intensive feeding of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the breeding ground of Banderas Bay, Mexico.

http://lajamjournal.org/index.php/lajam/article/view/691

Agradecemos a los coatuores Nicky Ransome, Oscar Aranda y Fernando Romo.

 

Heces de una ballena a punto de sumergirse, 8 de Febrero, 2012.

 

¡Gracias y hasta la próxima!

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Boletines News

Boletin Newsletter ECOBAC 2018-2019

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LLEGARON LAS BALLENAS
Las ballenas llegaron a la Bahía y como todos los años en ECOBAC estamos trabajando para que su estadía sea placentera y puedan realizar sus actividades de reproducción y crianza.

Este año la temporada oficial de observación de ballenas inició el 8 de diciembre y termina el 23 de marzo 2019, de acuerdo al aviso emitido en el DOF por SEMARNAT. Como siempre les recomendamos realizar la observación de ballenas solamente con embarcaciones autorizadas, las cuales pueden distinguir por la banderola. Si tienen su propia embarcación recuerden que deben de permanecer a una distancia mínima de 240metros de la ballena, pueden consultar y descargar los lineamientos para la observación de ballenas en http://www.ecobac.org/norma-para-la-observacion-de-ballenas/

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RABEN

La Red Nacional de Asistencia a Ballenas Enmalladas (RABEN) ya está en plena acción. El pasado 6 de diciembre de 2018 se llevó a cabo una reunión en la sala de juntas de API para repasar la teoría de Procedimientos y Eventos de Desenmallamientos de Grandes Ballenas con los miembros de RABEN Bahía de Banderas. Asistieron 36 participantes de Bahía de Banderas (Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta y Cruz de Huanacaxtle). El viernes 7 de diciembre de 2018 se continuó con el repaso de la práctica en el mar con 4 embarcaciones. Asistieron personal de la 8ª Zona Naval, inspectores de la PROFEPA, representantes de INAPESCA, CONANP, Capitanía de Puerto y API Puerto Vallarta, integrantes del Instituto Tecnológico de Bahía Banderas, Bahía Unida, AC, ECOBAC y operadores turísticos de Dolphin Adventure, Explora Vallarta, Ecotours de México y All Aboard Yacht Services.

Agradecemos el apoyo de API Puerto Vallarta, la 8a. Zona Naval, Ecotours de México, Dolphin Adventure y el Instituto Tecnológico de Bahía de Banderas.
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Nuestros equipos en La Paz, Los Cabos, Oaxaca y San Blas también ya realizaron sus prácticas anuales. Mientras tanto nuestros equipos de Loreto y Manzanillo entraron de lleno a la temporada rescatando, cada equipo, a una ballena jorobada con éxito.

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CUIDANDO A LAS BALLENAS
Por 8º. año consecutivo ECOBAC con apoyo de Opequimar Centro Marino nos estamos organizando para poder dar continuidad al Programa de Prevención, Información, Monitoreo y Vigilancia de Ballenas en Bahía de Banderas, el cual como ustedes saben ha tenido muy buenos resultados. El objetivo de este programa es promover las buenas prácticas de navegación durante la temporada de ballenas, así como dar difusión a la NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010 que establece los lineamientos para la observación de ballenas y fomentar que se le dé el debido seguimiento, evitando aglomeraciones de embarcaciones y acosos a las ballenas, así como situaciones peligrosas para las personas.

LAS BALLENAS NECESITAN TU AYUDA

Todos nuestros logros y proyectos son en parte gracias a tus donativos. Como ven hay mucho trabajo por hacer, para esta temporada requerimos de navajas, extensiones nuevas, gasolina, compostura del dingy de rescate, llantas y rines del remolque del dingy, entre otras cosas. Cualquier donativo en especie o en efectivo es muy apreciado, visita
https://www.ecobac.org/donativos/
Los mantendremos informados sobre lo más relevante de la temporada de ballenas.

Les deseamos felices fiestas y un excelente 2019 con mucha salud, amor, felicidad y buenos hábitos para cuidar nuestro querido planeta.

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Sus amigos de ECOBAC

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Newsletter October 2017

Big Whale Disentanglement Workshop in Colombia Lead by RABEN

A BIT OF HISTORY
It has been a long and arduous journey since our first interinstitutional team whale rescue took place almost 14 years when we were able to rescue a whale entangled in a net in Banderas Bay.After many years of hard teamwork, courses, and training, we managed to obtain support from the International Whaling Commission and funding from CONANP. Then, under the coordination of ECOBAC, the National Network RABEN (Entangled Whales Assistance Network in Mexico) is created with 15 teams and 180 trained members distributed
in the Mexican Pacific and the Baja California Peninsula.
COLOMBIA
Now, for the first time, members of the RABEN team lead a workshop about large whale disentanglement techniques, in Colombia on behalf of the International Whaling Commission. Karel Beets and Astrid Frisch trained 31 people from 14 different institutions and agencies from the Environment National System and the Colombian Army. The 2-day workshop included a classroom day and a practice on water day and took place at the Pacific Botanical Garden at Bahia Solano in the department of Choco in the Colombian Pacific.With great pride, we share this great achievement and recognition for RABEN by the International Whaling Commission.  This was achieved thanks to the 180 members of RABEN that every day are committed to rescuing big whales rescues in an efficient and safe way.
All this was also possible thanks to all the volunteers and donors of ECOBAC who always support us and help us to fulfill our projects.
TO SHOW OFF A BIT MORE
RABEN team from Loreto successfully rescued a fin whale caught in a gill net on September 12, 2017. This is the first international record of the rescue of a whale from this species, the second largest whale in the world!
WHAT´S NEXT?
Now we have to get organized and have practice sessions to be ready for the next whale season.Thanks to all for your great support, we´ll keep working and keeping you informed.
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Newsletter April 2017

End of 2017 Season newsletter.

The whales are gone, whale watching season is officially over since last March 23rd, as always whales kept us very busy and now that they left, we still have lots of work to do.

This season we were pleasantly surprised by having the first registry of Sperm Whales inside the bay (Physeter macrocephalum).

Below you will find a brief summary of our activities during the whale season, as well as the invitation to join us for the 13th International Festival of Altruism.
Acknowledgments

First of all, we want to thank all who participated and supported our efforts so we can continue with our projects and implement new activities: Particularly to Opequimar Centro Marino, to the 8th. Naval Zone of Puerto Vallarta, the Foundation Punta de Mita, the Comisión Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP), as well as members of the Assistance Network of Entangled Whales (RABEN) and especially to all our volunteers. Many thanks!

End of season volunteer meeting
The whales have returned to their winter home

The good news of this season was that the whales returned, again there were many whales in the Bay, which was a great surprise after the last numbers. Something that made this season a unique one,  was the registry of whales feeding in several parts of the bay for over 15 days. This allowed us to see whales displaying an unusual behavior in the region, such as swimming in circles, defecating, and even making bubble nets, a technique used by the humpback whales to catch their food.

Remnants of the previous season.

This season we also observed several whales covered with parasites, as well as some other that seemed weak or having a lower weight (skinny). By the end of the season, we received a report of a floating dead whale covered with parasites close to the Marietas Islands National Park. The body was towed with the help of the 8th. Naval Zone outside the Bay to prevent it from beaching in in the bay.

Whale Rescue

Happily this season we only had 3 reports of whales entangled. The first one was on the 20th of November. This took us by surprise, as the season has not yet started, however, the RABEN  team of Bahía de Banderas acted efficiently and immediately. Due to the time of day,  we could not fully release the whale, and the next day we were not able to locate it again. Therefore, we alerted other RABEN teams and the whale was finally freed by Mazatlan RABEN team a few days later, which demonstrates the efficiency of the national network for whale entanglements. The other two reports, both correspond to a case that could not be confirmed, as no allegedly entangled whale was found. The 3rd report was a whale with a rope which presented no life-threatening risk, so that it was not necessary to act.

Prevention remains necessary.
After 5 years of positive results of the Prevention, Information, Surveillance and Monitoring of whales in the Bay Program, the 6th season was held with the objective of preventing accidents, informing tourists and captains of vessels on the guidelines to follow for the observation of whales established in the NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010, in addition to monitor the amount of boats with or without permission and the faults to the norm. This year´s patrolling was held thanks to the sponsorship of the Punta de Mita Foundation and Opequimar Marine Center and were carried out with the support of the 8th. Naval Zone. Unfortunately this year, there was an increase in the number of vessels with respect to last year, that is to say, almost half of the boats were private or did not have authorization for the observation of whales, so that they were not aware of the guidelines and did not know how to maneuver in the presence of whales, giving us more reason to continue with this very important program. In general, the results are good, the response of the people was mostly positive and grateful for the care of the whales, especially of tourists and some private vessels.

 

Environmental Education

Documentary Sonic Sea and RABEN Video

Thanks to the coordination and support of Movie Picnic, SITIsystems, CUC, and the Instituto Vallartense de Cultura de Puerto Vallarta, three film projections of the documentary Sonic Sea done.  This documentary explains the impact of ocean noise on the whales. We were also able to present a video of the “Red de Asistencia a Ballenas Enmalladas (RABEN- Mexican Big Whales Disentanglement Network). Needless to say, it was a resounding success, having about 1.000 persons attending.

“Conoce tú Bahía” event

On the 11th of February, the Comision Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas ( CONANP- National Commission of Natural Protected Areas), organized the event named “Conoce tú Bahía” (get to know your bay), in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, where different NGOs, were invited.  ECOBAC was there and put up an exhibit with games, through which families were made aware of the biodiversity present in the region where we live.

Day of the Whale at Gallerias Vallarta

This was an event-driven mainly by “ Asociación Civil Conservación de Especies Maravillosas de Bahía de Banderas (CEMBAB-  Civic Association for Conservation of Marvelous Species of Bandears Bay), which in coordination with ECOBAC staged a photographic exhibition, educational games with interactive panels, raffles and a silent auction. During the event, the attendees spent a fun day out while learning basic concepts of whales and environmental care.

Run and Win

Punta de Mita Foundation organized a sports-educational fair in Punta de Mita, with the aim of raising funds for the Community Center. ECOBAC and other NGOs were invited to have a wider variety of games for children, those of whom learned to know and care for the environment.

The International Festival of Altruism.

This next 14th of May, The International Festival of Altruism will be held once more in Puerto Vallarta, in which there will be nearly 30 restaurants, shows, music, art and entertainment. Are you ready to live it? With your presence, you’ll subsidize different NGOs of the area. “Ecología y Conservación de Ballenas, A.C”. (ECOBAC) will be one of the associations that will need your support. The donations will be used to continue the commendable work in our different projects: the rescue of entangled whales, conservation, environmental education, promotion of ecotourism as well as sustainable development, and research of the Humpback whales in Banderas Bay.

 

Contact Us! And buy your ticket for the International Festival of Altruism

Pre sale ticket $400.00 pesos

Tickets sold at the offices of ECOBAC or Ecotours de Mexico.

ECOBAC: Arce 541, Col. La Primavera, Puerto Vallarta. Tel. 322 2937851, Cel. 3221425130 and 3221593738

ECOTOURS: Proa Street S/N, Local 20. Condominiums Marina del Rey. Marina Vallarta. Next to EL Coleguita restaurant  Tel. 3222226606, 3222092195.

Note: We can deliver the tickets too!

Join!

At ECOBAC we will continue to work in favor of the conservation of our oceans and in particular of the whales. We invite you to join and be part of our team of volunteers or support us by spreading the objectives and above all to join the campaign ” I care for the whales”.

Donate

Thanks to donations we can give continuity to our projects. You can donate in cash or with products. Visit www.ecobac.org

Donate
NOTE: We especially thank Thalia Martinez for her support in translating this newsletter.
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Newsletter December 2016

ECOBAC DECEMBER 2016 NEWSLETTER

ECOBAC friends, another year full of successes and achievements, and we are glad to know that you are part of it. We are excited since this next December 8th begins the official whale watching season; as a matter of fact, the first reports of whales have already been registered. We know that Banderas Bay is one of the favorite places for the humpbacks, where they spend the winter, mate, have their calves, enjoy the warm waters and enchant us with their presence and songs. This makes us very happy, however, the season has not yet officially begun, and we have had already two cases of entangled whales, which have been attended by RABEN promptly.
If you would like to know more about what “Red de Asistencia a Ballenas Enmalladas” (RABEN- Mexico Whale Disentanglement Network) does in Mexico, we encourage you to watch the following video: https://youtu.be/ifwJ4URDvZ4.

Our objectives this season are as follows:
– Thanks to “Fundación Punta de Mita” and Opequimar, this season will continue with the Prevention, Information, Surveillance and Monitoring Program of Humpback whale in Banderas Bay, where along with ECOBAC volunteers, and in collaboration with staff from PROFEPA and SEMAR, weekly trips are to be done in the bay, providing information, and monitoring that both tourism and private vessels are following the whale watching guidelines set forth on the NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010.
-Follow-up on the campaign “I care for the whales”, which includes visits to the different marinas in order to enforce safe and correct navigation practices this season,
– Reach a greater number of people informed about correct whale watching procedures, so whales can enjoy a pleasant stay in their breeding grounds.What have we been doing?

Conservation of marine mammals in the world: 4th. CONGRESS ICMMPA

From November 13th to 17th, the International Committee for Marine Mammals and Protected Areas (ICMMPA, by its acronym in English) organized the 4th International Congress on Marine Mammals and Protected Natural Areas, in collaboration with the “Comisión Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegídas”(CONANP) and “Ecología y Conservación de Ballenas, AC” (ECOBAC). The conferences about Protected Areas and marine mammal provided an international forum for managers of marine protected areas,

Conservation of marine mammals in the world: 4th. CONGRESS ICMMPAscientists and educators in which they could discuss and share common challenges, as well as provide with solutions for the protection and conservation of marine mammals in the world. The Congress had the presence of representatives of 14 countries from all continents, all focused on creating partnerships among the different nations which would help to guarantee the protection of marine mammals no only in protected areas but also in the high seas.

On the 16th of November, the event “A night with giants” screened through video, three cases of success in the field of conservation of whales in Mexico, such as Gray whale, Blue whale and RABEN. Then on the 17th of November, the documentary “Sonic Sea” made its premiere in Mexico. This documentary deals with the issue of noise pollution and the negative effects on marine mammals, mainly whales. Both events had very good audience; those present did not lose the opportunity to ask the experts what they always wanted to know.
Last but not least, we encourage you to learn more about this documentary, and invite you to click on the following link  http://sonicsea.org/,  or if you would like to see a trailer, just following this link https://youtu.be/T-jabL64UZE. Please stay tuned since the documentary will be soon screened in the city, it is a documentary that should not be missed, without any doubt it will make an imprint on you.
1st RABEN National Assembly

Thanks to the program PROCER from the “Comisión Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas” (CONANP), the first RABEN national meeting was held and had the presence of members of the Global Untangling Network from United States of America and Canada. Their presence helped to enhance the creation of strategies to operate when it comes to addressing cases of entangled whales that migrate towards and from Mexico For the first time, where gathered representatives of the 15 RABEN teams of Mexico, many experiences were shared, and there was a thorough review of the protocol to be follow on any given great whale entanglement situation. This made clear that these guidelines are those that allowed having a positive outcome on more than 70 reports without any incident. In addition to this, another objective of the meeting was to share strategies and suggest ideas to improve the efficiency, and have a more effective communication among RABEN groups when a report surges. At the end of this meeting, a yearly meeting proposal was launched.

Ready to greet the whales!

At ECOBAC we are getting ready to receive the whales and continue contributing so that at their arrival to the bay they are not harassed, and their reproductive and breeding activities are not interfered with. This is why this year, thanks to the support of Opequimar and the “Fundación Punta de Mita” (with funds from the sale of Viva Natura books), we will continue with the program of prevention, information, monitoring and surveillance of whales in Banderas Bay, which has already been operating for 5 years while informing and raising awareness among the tour operators or captains of the boats on the right way to do the activity of whale watching. This program is done in collaboration with 8th Zona Naval and PROFEPA Jalisco and Nayarit.
We will continue with the campaign “I care for the whales” to inform locals and tourists in the marinas of the Bay on the positive activities during their holidays that would not affect the whales, but still allow them to enjoy and see these majestic animals. It is important to give continuity to this program, as these 5 years have shown positive results, but more is still needed.

Trained tour operators, correctly performed whale watching activity

Part of the commitments of the whale watching tour operators is to assist to a yearly course by SEMARNAT, by the end of this each shall receive a permit and flag that would identify them as properly trained tour operators, and guarantee the safety of both tourist and whales. The event was held in Nuevo Vallarta Nayarit, and was attended by approximately 250 people, including vessel owners and their crew. During the course, topics included the Mexican standard for the observation of whales, the causes that may lead to incurring a violation and general biology of whales, etc. Within this training, ECOBAC shared and celebrated 20 years of the FIBB catalog, as well as some videos on about blue whale watching in Loreto and the RABEN meeting.

We hope you are as excited as we are by the whale season. We thank you kindly for staying alert and following us, as well as being part of ECOBAC.

On behalf of the entire team, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year .

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Newsletter October 2016

Dear collaborators, it is an honor to share with you the news, that this year in 2016 we are celebrating 20 years of working with humpback whales!

The results have been diverse, and what started as just a project researching the whales, today has developed to encompass various areas of work including conservation, environmental education and sharing of information. Of course we want to take this opportunity to express our sincerest appreciation to all our collaborators, donors and volunteers who have been continuously part of these glorious years of work, without you none of this would have been possible.

20 years of Tails!

In the year 1996, after years of working with the “Mexican National Catalog of Humpback Whales” of the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM), the idea arose to start a humpback whale catalog for just the Bay of Banderas. We began by inviting different institutions, tour operators and photographers to be part of the dedicated work. The FIBB catalog includes independent collaborators and a diverse group of organizations, such as the Regional Centre of Fisheries Investigation-INP, Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Cielo Abierto, Discover Pacific Tours, Ecotours de Mexico, Technological Institute of the Bay of Banderas, Nicola Ransome, Ocean Friendly, Thalia Martinez, Vallarta Adventures and Whale Watch Vallarta.

To date, the catalog contains 1,967 individual whales that are classified into 5 different categories, according to the color patterns of their tail flukes. Using data from the catalog, a great variety of other types of work have been produced, including thesis projects, investigation articles, international participation and presentations in national and international conferences, and preparation of symposiums, amongst other things!

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Earth Day

As part of the celebrations organized by the Punta de Mita Foundation (Fundación Punta de Mita) to commemorate “Earth Day”, ECOBAC and other institutions were invited to contribute and take part in the activities. ECOBAC presented a talk entitled “The humpback whale and other cetaceans of the Bay”, which was attended by children from the local secondary school who seemed very interested to learn about the majestic cetaceans, and have their img-20160422-wa0002photo taken with “Kuikani”, our life-sized humpback whale calf. Additionally, we shared presentations about the marine environment, and the event finished with a litter collection/beach cleanup, all organized by the Punta de Mita Foundation (Fundación Punta de Mita).

To us at ECOBAC it is particularly important and enjoyable to participate in activities that involve children and young people, who always seem to quickly become great supporters of our causes.

From a “fingerprint” to a “face”

On the 20th anniversary of the Photo Identification Catalog of the Bay of Banderas (FIBB Catalog) we have analyzed exactly 1,967 different registered tail flukes. These results were presented in a poster at the XXXV International Meeting for the Study of Marine Mammals (SOMMEMA in La Paz, Baja California), with the title “Photo-identification of humpback whales: Is it true that fluke coloration does not change over time?” The work involved comparing the re-sightings of whales recorded in our catalog; and then to assess possible changes in the pigmentation patterns, marks, scratches or scars, that in some cases can make a whale appear to be very different. So, what were our findings? Effectively, we found that the features of a tail fluke that make a whale unique do change over the years, and that it is possible that a whale can appear completely different as time passes.

The technique of photo-identification of humpback whales is based around the idea that the ventral side of the caudal fin (fluke) of the humpback whale is like a fingerprint, that doesn’t change significantly over time, apart from acquired scars. However, our results show that the fluke is more similar to a face, and acquires marks and scars and may even change in color over time. The presentation was a success, and was well received with a lot of interest shown from attendees of the conference.

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The population of humpback whales in the Bay of Banderas

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Another subject presented by ECOBAC in the XXXV International Meeting for the Study of Marine Mammals (SOMMEMA in La Paz, Baja California) was: “The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the Bay of Banderas, Mexico: Analysis of the relative abundance and temporal variation during the winters 2004 – 2014”. In the analysis of the 11 seasons, an increase in the number of whales was observed, as well as a change in the peak of the season (days when more whales are seen). During the 1990s, the peak of the season was during the last two weeks of January and the first two weeks of February; more recently a change has been observed, with the peak of the season now occuring during the last two weeks of December and the first two weeks of Janaury.

Even though these are very positive results and findings for the humpback whale population, we will not stop or reduce our efforts in monitoring and regulating the activity of whale watching and preventing accidents; it is the continuation of these programs that contributes to making the bay an ideal place for humpback.

Summer in Los Mangos

Enjoying the summer activities in the library of Los Mangoimg_0801-150s (Puerto Vallarta), ECOBAC was invited to collaborate with some activities for children from the local primary school. It was run in the morning, and in an entertaining and interactive way we talked about the general characteristics of cetaceans and the life cycles of whales. Of course, the most important subject we talked about was how to help care for and protect the whales, in the childrens’ daily activities at home, in school and in the whales’ natural environment.

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To reinforce the message, at the end of the talk we played a marine “lottery”. The winners of every round received the present of the game “Zoomergidos” and “Anchors and Lifejackets”; we are sure that by playing the games the, children will go away to learn and share with their friends and families the idea of how to look after the whales!

The whales and fishing gear

Fishing is recognized as one of the coastal activities with the greatest increasing global demands, and also an activity that is indispensible for the human race in many parts of the world. However, fisheries practices have brought many problems for marine animals, as often fishing gear not only catches it’s target species but also other wildlife “by-catch” such as turtles, dolphins, sharks, rays and even whales.

By-catch of turtles and dolphins is already being reduced by the Mexican governments official regulations, with some fishing methods and equipment banned or controlled in order not to affect vulnerable populations. However, the problem with whales continues; documentation work carried out by RABEN during disentanglements is essential to understand the types of fishing gear that are entangling whales, and thereby enabling authorities to establish mechanisms for exclusion or easy release of whales from fishing gear.

Thanks to the “VIII Scientific Forum of Ribereña Fisheries” which took place in Puerto Vallarta, the project “In search of a solution to prevent by-catch of large whales in fisheries gear: Mexican National Whale Disentanglement Network (Red de Asistencia a Ballenas Enmalladas or RABEN)” was presented. The aim was to introduce the idea to those engaged in fisheries research, to reach agreements in the future, and to discuss and find technical and legally accepted mechanisms to prevent by-catch of whales.

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ICMMPA – The 4th International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas

Lastly, but no less importantly, we are pleased to share that during the month of November, Puerto Vallarta will become the headquarters for the 4th International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas, promoted and organized by ICMMPA (International Committee on Marine Mammal Protected Areas), CONANP and ECOBAC, amongst others. One of the objectives of the congress will be to share information on the approaches that have been used in protected areas, as well as to search for new planning strategies for the management and monitoring of natural marine mammals protected areas, especially as this year’s theme will be “Building partnerships and planning for conservation”.

During the conference the results obtained by RABEN will be presented, and to end the ICMMPA conference there will be the first national meeting of all the RABEN teams, where they will share experiences and successes.

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Newsletter August 2015

Dear friends and colleagues, we gladly salute you once more! This time we would like to share with you the activities that have taken place after the end of whale watching season and the setting for the following one.

Gathering funds while having fun

The international Altruism festival “De Vallarta by Vallarta”, took place on May 17th, 2015. In this festival, 20 civil associations participated, including ECOBAC. The event was held at Hotel Marriott Casa Magna in Puerto Vallarta Jalisco, under the coordination of Kelly Traynor, consul of the USA in Vallarta.

All associations were benefited by equal, by being responsible for selling and invite nearly 2000 attendees who along with us had the opportunity to enjoy an extraordinary gastronomic show with over 30 of the best restaurants of the region, plus enjoy music and dance shows, raffles and more.

During the event, we set up a booth with information ECOBAC and activities undertaken; publicity was given to the campaign “I do care to Whales” and attendees were invited to join the campaign or volunteer.

Funds raised during the festival were destined to cover part of the training of two RABEN Banderas Bay instructors and tools for our Banderas Bay RABEN team (Big whale Disentanglement Network).

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Making new friends!

On June 5th, the Biol. Astrid Frisch along with M. C. Iyari Espinoza gave a presentation at school Campo Verde where they talked about the different conservation activities carried out by ECOBAC.

The lecture was attended by a total of 81 people, including students from middle school and high school as well as teachers.

The small ones also participate!

Activities for young preschool involved meeting Kuikani, a whale-size inflatable baby humpback whale that amazed everyone, as much teachers as students and administrators. This activity was excellent as it was used to gauge the actual size of an offspring and imagine the size of an adult whale.

Always constantly learning

RABEN Instructor Training

We gladly inform that after two years of efforts, ECOBAC finally brought together the resources and conditions to send 2 persons to conduct a training program for instructors regarding net removal from great whales.

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The course lasted three weeks, and took place at Provincetown, Mass., USA. Both Ricky Rebolledo and Karel Beets, from RABEN Banderas Bay team participated, with over 10 years’ experience and availability to be absent from their workplaces during the needed time.

As you all know, Karel and Ricky are part of the team that supports us, since they conduct training workshops and updating, hence this is a great achievement for everyone, as we will have our better and more qualified personnel for our workshops.

On  August  2nd , Ricky and Karel had the opportunity to participate in a maneuver which lasted 11 hours. The rescue was conducted by the Center for Coastal Studies (MAER) to free a young humpback whale entangled in lobster traps,. With this experience they learned a lot and were congratulated for their excellent performance.

If you would like to learn more, I hereby share the link so you can read the full story

CCS MAER team frees entangled humpback whale after 11 hour operation

We sincerely thank the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, World Animal Protection, ECOBAC and specially David Mattila and Scott Landry for the support so we could achieve this RABEN training.

More Training RABEN!

As every year, in ECOBAC we are already preparing for the next training of RABEN teams. This time the venues will be Huatulco and Puerto Angel in Oaxaca on the 2nd and 3rd of September; Mazatlan, Sinaloa on the 1st and 2nd of October and Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur on the 6th and 7th of October.

During these workshops we will practice at sea in order to update and improve the techniques. There will also review difficult cases in each region in order to enrich the technique and / or learn new things. All these looking for the teams’ optimum preparation for the whale season, therefore having a prompt and adequate response when entanglement events that may occur.

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Together we can do it!

Prevention workshops

Fishing nets are the working tools and support of a large part of the population of the coastal zone, however they have become a serious problem because of marine mammals entanglement in them, not only because it economically affect citizens but also because such accidents endanger the lives of these animals and their populations.

We know that the best way to find a solution is meeting with those directly involved, meaning the fishermen. That is why in addition to the RABEN training, an Entanglement Prevention Workshop will be held with the various fishing fleets at Huatulco, San Blas and Guerrero Negro.

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A knowledge and conservation oriented party

Ballenarte Festival

The need for a whale festival in the region arouse just a couple of years ago, with the thought of dedicating a day to these spectacular animals that winter on our shores each year.

In March 2016 we will be conducting our 2nd Conservation festival Ballenarte. As part of our activities will be located in different parts of the city where people can come to our stands and participate in different games, as well as retrieve information that we will share.

As part of the activities, various conferences will be held in places yet to be confirmed, which will be announced further on.

We hope you can join us in all our activities and have the opportunity to have fun and learn with us.