Advances in humpback whale research!

Despite the fact that it is not whale season, the ECOBAC team continues to work on research tasks and activities aimed at humpback whale conservation in Banderas Bay. We have compiled a summary of our accomplishments from last April to date.

More and more whales!
Every year, we receive over 3,000 photographs of fluke tails from our collaborators, which adds to and enriches our Banderas Bay Humpback Whale Photo-identification Catalog database (FIBB Catalog).

For a photo of a whale fluke or tail to enter the FIBB catalog, it requires more than 30 hours of work, a difficult but rewarding activity when we recognize the different whales that visit us year after year and identify new ones. The catalog represents a significant effort because photo-identification allows us to estimate population abundance, study behavior, migratory routes, birth rate, and length of stay in this part of the Mexican Pacific. 

This year, we are pleased to inform you that we have completed the FIBB catalog entry for the 2017, 2018, and 2019 seasons! With this update, we now have 2,859 different humpback whales and a database of over 8,400 records. The ECOBAC team is currently working on entering photographs of new individuals taken over the last two seasons (2020 and 2021) into the FIBB catalog.

We are also collaborating on several scientific articles in order to share this important information.
We remind you that the FIBB catalog is available on the website
We've now surpassed 1,000 Category 5 whales!

Humpback whale ventral tail coloration ranges from fully white (category 1) to completely black (category 5).

Did you know that the humpback whales that visit Banderas Bay belong to the North Pacific population and that the black color predominates among their individuals?

This is why we have more Category 5 whales in our catalog than any other and we reached 1,000 individuals in this category!

Our heart is still beating!

Corazón, or Heart in English (5BB029), is one of our most well-known whales.  He was first seen in 2000 and we have records of him in the Bay in eight different seasons (2002, 2006, 2007, and 2009 to 2013). He was frequently seen in big competitive groups and twice he choose to be on his own and a song.
We hadn’t heard from Corazón since 2013, but reports that he was spotted alive outside of Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, last March! Its migration path includes California, where it feeds, and Los Cabos, and Banderas Bay, where it breeds. This male is one of twelve whales featured in our 2021 calendar to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the FIBB catalog.

Collisions with boats, a growing concern and problem
We did an analysis of the database from 1996 to the present in order to better understand the problem of boat-whale collisions. This project is being carried out in partnership with WWF Mexico.
We identified whales with scars or wounds caused by boats and we did an analysis of whales with fresh or recent wounds (not healed), indicating that these whales were run over in Banderas Bay or in its vicinity.

Unfortunately, between 2007 and 2021, we found 16 whales with fresh injuries, 11 of which were calves, and two of them died. 27.5% of the collisions were with small vessels (less than 30 ft in length).

This is a terrible and unacceptable reality, and this is why we are planning a campaign to encourage safe boating practices during whale season in order to increase awareness and prevent this kind of incident.
We plan to launch this campaign in December, and we hope to have your help so we can reach out to more people.
Fresh wounds
Healed wounds
We joined the Network of Non-profit Associations of Puerto Vallarta and Bahía de Banderas

We are delighted to announce that as of this month, we joined 28 non-profit associations in the Red de Asociaciones Altruistas de Puerto Vallarta y Bahía de Banderas, the objective is to integrate more with our community and learn from and support other non -profits.

Thank you for your help!

We are grateful to FIBB Catalog’s collaborators since it´s thanks to them that we have been able to build one of the most complete humpback whale catalogs in the North Pacific. We are grateful to all of them, past, present, and future collaborators who want to be a part of this amazing project.
Frank Mc Cann, Ecotours de México, Orca de Sayulita, Vallarta Adventures, Cielo Abierto, Oceanfriendly, Discovery tours, Vallarta Natours, Whale Watch Vallarta, Biocean, Biomar and Instituto Tecnológico de Bahía de Banderas.

Whales need you!

ECOBAC is a non-profit organization thus we rely on your donations to keep up with our projects. We need your support to keep up with our studies and protect these incredible whales!

We remind you that you can find us on
Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube @ Ecología y Conservación de Ballenas!
We invite you to visit our newly designed website,

Quiero reportar una ballena enmallada