What It’s Like to Visit the Last Untouched Gray Whale Sanctuary on Earth

by Liz Coplon

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to visit Laguna San Ignacio in Baja, Mexico. This is the only lagoon of its kind left in the world — where mother gray whales travel thousands of miles from Alaska each year, encountering many risks along the way, to give birth to their babies without human disturbance.

From the moment our boat left the shore on our first day in this magical place, I could see immediately how safe the whales felt in the tranquil waters of the lagoon. We were told that, unlike many other animal species, the mothers and babies love to be touched—and they did! Several times they came right up to our boat and we were able to reach out and pet them. It was absolutely incredible.

If you can believe it, not long ago, the future of this extraordinary refuge was in jeopardy. In 2000, NRDC stopped Mitsubishi from building a saltworks plant that would have turned the shores of the lagoon into an industrial wasteland. But still today, the lagoon is perennially threatened by schemes for industrialization and development that would destroy the whale’s home.

NRDC is working with local and international partners to permanently protect 500,000 acres around the lagoon to ensure that it will be kept pristine for the gray whales. To date, we’ve protected 150,000 key acres on the west side of the lagoon and gained protections for another 109,000 acres of federal lands on the eastern side. And just recently, the Mexican government has granted special protection to an additional 199,000 acres of land surrounding the lagoon.

One way you can help this holiday season is to give the whale lovers in your life the Whale Nursery gift from NRDC’s Green Gifts Collection. Your gift will help save an acre of this untouched sanctuary in honor of a loved one.

This lagoon is a unique place.  We need to help save it — for ourselves and for the whales.

Related Stories:

Sea Shepherd Aims to Send Whalers Home Empty-Handed This Year

Captive Whale Tried to Talk Like Humans

Activists Fight to Return Captured Dolphins to the Wild


Liz Coplon blogs at Farmstand LA.

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Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman2 years ago

Thank-You for Post NRDC

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra2 years ago

Thank you NRDC, for Sharing this!

Manel Dias
Manel Dias2 years ago

Glad to hear that people like Pierce Brosnon is taking intiative to contribute something to the nature & it's inhibitants. Very encouraging. We need people like him to stand up on behalf of Animals & speak for them. Thanks Mr. Bond.

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Magdika Cecilia Perez

thank you NRDC !!!

Mary L.
Mary L.2 years ago

May your works prosper.

Gale Thomasson
Gale T.2 years ago

great article! Glad ton see we haven't killed them off too.

Nirvana Jaganath
Nirvana Jaganath2 years ago


Charli S.
Charlotte S.2 years ago

The only good thing about human beings dying out is that finally the entire planet will become a sanctuary. Hopefully we die out before we destroy the planet.

Karen R.
Karen R.2 years ago

Nice to know our letters and petitions have an effect! Need to save the whales!