We hope you are all fine and healthy, staying positive in these difficult times, which also allow us to reorganize and tune in for a new and better return. This whale season was a very busy one, with lots of whales and activities. We hope you enjoy this summary with our most relevant activities. Thanks to all of you for your support! We really appreciate your constant interest and help. Thanks to you, we can proudly share these results!
RABEN to the rescue: 9 WHALES SUCCESSFULLY RELEASED 41% released & 23% not necessary = !64% SUCCESS¡
This was the season with more entanglement reports in Mexico by far, but also one of the most successful in our history. We attended 24 reports, out of which 2 reports were taken care of by 2 different teams, meaning that one RABEN team started the rescue and the second team in a different location finished them. Out of 22 entangled whales, we successfully rescued 9 and 5 whales didn´t need to be disentangled since the gear was not life-threatening and will fall on its own; we were unable to confirm 2 more cases, meaning that we didn´t find the whale and there were no photos or video, so we´ll never find out if the reports were true or false. The rest of the whales that we couldn´t release was due to different factors like bad weather, we got the report too late in the day, the whale was very aggressive of evasive. In summary, we had 64% SUCCESS in our operations and we saved at least 14 whales, which is an outstanding result. Out of 24 reports, 11 were in Banderas Bay, as every year, the busiest team of all our 10 RABEN teams. There are several reasons for this, most of all it´s an indicator of humpbacks migratory routes and the importance of this region as a hot spot mating ground, it also reflects the entanglement problems and is also a result of our outreach efforts, because every year we have more trained eyes that know-how and where to report, don´t forget that RABEN has been working in Banderas Bay since 2004. Also, this season we got lots of reports tru out WhatsApp available at our websites www.rabenmexico.org and www.ecobac.org, another good tool at work!
Why were we so SUCCESSFULL?
Help, help and more help!! This year, particularly at Los Cabos and Banderas Bay, the local whale watching and sailing fleet got more involved and helped us by reporting, but also by staying with the whales until the RABEN rescue team arrived, believe it or not, is very hard to find an entangled whale. Whales are indeed big, but the ocean is much bigger!!!
GOODBYE Surveillance and HELLO New Humpback Research!With pride, we communicate that our 8-year program (2012-2019) “Prevention, Information, Monitoring and Surveillance of Humpback Whales in Banderas Bay” concluded. We accomplished our objective of promoting good navigation practices and the Mexican Whale Watching Regulation during whale season, avoiding boats crowding and whale harassment, as well as dangerous situations for persons. Our system worked so well that Bahia Unida nonprofit and PROFEPA Jalisco decided to adopt it and took over this season. This season we started a new “Humpback whale research program” with the main objective of studying changes in their distribution and temporality, and in order to do this, we did several outings before, during and after the whale watching season and also in the areas within the Bay when usually fewer whales are seen. This information will be very useful to promote conservation actions to protect this beloved specie.
Knowing for CARING!
As usual, in the past 12 years, we continued with our “I care for the whales” campaign and with the support of our great team of volunteers, we gave out flyers with the Mexican Whale Watching Regulations to boaters. Marina Riviera Nayarit also participated by printing more flyers to have them available for all the boaters that visit them, big Thank you for them! We also placed banners announcing for navigation with caution and also banners with the Mexican Whale Watching regulation at Marina Puerto Vallarta, Marina Riviera Nayarit, Marina Nuevo Vallarta, Centro Marino Opequimar gas station and other piers and places of the Bay. We are very grateful to Bahia Unida and Marina Nuevo Vallarta for sponsoring the printing of the banners so we could reach more persons.
We participated in 6 environmental education events, with conferences and documentary projections at Marina Riviera Nayarit at La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, including the premiere of our video Cases of Success 2019-2020.
CAMELS in the Bay?
Yes, we have one very special camel in the Bay, he is one of our favorite humpbacks. His code is 4BB010 and he got the nickname of Camello in Mexico and Bactrian in the States, because of his peculiar dorsal fin, which resembles a dromedary. We know him since 1999 and since then, he has never missed a Winter; we have heard him singing and seen him fighting, so we expect him to be the father of several calves by now. His feeding ground is the area of Monterey Bay in California, where hopefully he´s already replenishing. He´s just gone and we already miss him and of course looking forward to seeing him this next season so we can continue writing his story.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
It´s a pleasure to have to thank more persons, institutions, donors, volunteers, companies and foundations every year, adding to our efforts to learn, protect and preserve our natural resources. It´s hard to mention everyone and I hope not to miss anybody. Thanks to our amazing team of volunteers: Frank, Azucena, Olivia, Paulina, Karina, Bárbara, Isabel, Katie, Monse & Abraham for their endless enthusiasm and support, without you we couldn´t have done all these activities. We are very thankful to 8a. Zona Naval de Puerto Vallarta, 6ª. Zona Naval de San Blas, 6ª. Región Naval de Manzanillo, PROFEPA, Bomberos & Protección Civil de Jalisco for their valuable participation and support for the RABEN rescues. We thank all the persons that reached out to promptly and efficiently reported whale entanglements, especially to the sailing fleet and whale watching tour operators that help us keeping track of entangled whales, particularly to Francisco Javier and Gustavo. It was very complicated to attend so many entanglement reports, mostly if we consider that RABEN members are volunteers or do this activity as an additional task to their Jobs; nevertheless, RABEN teams had an outstanding response, so we thank ALL RABEN MEMBERS for their great work. We also thank Opequimar Centro Marino for joining as a new RABEN member at the Banderas bay team. https://rabenmexico.org/miembros-y-donadores/ https://rabenmexico.org/en/membersa-donors/ Thanks to Jorge Morales y Faby Flores for our Success Cases 2019-2020 video, that by the way was a great success! Thanks to Maritime Traffic Control and Harbor Masters for their support with radio announcements to navigate carefully when whales were in heavy traffic areas. Our research surveys were done thanks to BIOMAR and Stanly W. Ekstrom Foundations funding and to Opequimar Centro Marino and Ecotours de México support. We deeply thank the donations by The Cape Thompson Hotel, Vinos Torres, Thalía Martinez, Katie Lavery Niekamp, Greg Pennington, Vicky McCann & Helga Baitenmann for our ECOBAC & RABEN projects. Thanks to Katrina Liana & Michael Danielson of PV Sailing for organizing conferences and events at Marina Riviera Nayarit for a second consecutive year, a great success! We also thank Yoga & Somatics and professor Ramiro that organized yoga classes with donations for RABEN and whale entanglements. Ramiro planned everything for 4 Saturdays, but the actual situation forced us to cancel, but we´ll resume soon this great initiative.
To all and each one of you, we dedícate this newsletter.