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.
Liz Coplon blogs at Farmstand LA.