Words: Kátia Silva, Cabo Trek
The migration of humpback whales to Mexican waters in Los Cabos occurs every year with approximately 10,000 humpback whales visiting Mexico to have their young and breed. Whale watching in Mexico began as a formal activity in 1980 and since, tourists have come from all over the world to visit Los Cabos and experience whale watching for the first time. Many tourists return every year exclusively for this type of tourist activity between the months of December-April. The fact that whales are considered a charismatic and “flagship” animal helps to ensure the preservation of different species and coastal marine environments. This makes Los Cabos recognised as an area of extreme importance not only environmentally, but also socially, economically and culturally.
The identity of Los Cabos can and should be recognised as one of the most important areas for migration, reproduction and continuity in protecting the life of these animals that, unfortunately, face many threats.
In view of this, the first Whale Festival Los Cabos was held with a focus on the impacts of marine pollution by the NGO Zero Waste Los Cabos and the Participatory Environmental Monitoring Committee Los Cabos, and had the support from different business sectors and tourism operators, as well as WCA Partner and Certified WCA Responsible Whale Watching Company Cabo Trek.
The objective of the Festival was to spread information about whales and inspire people through workshops, talks, recreational activities and art.
Whale watching, if practiced responsibly, with conservation efforts and environmental education practices, can bring numerous benefits to coastal municipalities targeted by the annual migration of the whales.
The initiative, in addition to having offered educational, scientific and cultural activities, has focused on a new tourism panorama. Based on sustainable ecological development, promoting clean industry, and serving as a vector for environmental awareness. The Festival also had the objective of raising funds to support the actions for rescue marine animals entangled in fishing nets.
These are some of the great activities that took place:
1. Wall Mural:
The artistic intervention “Sea Giants” aimed to enhance the Protected Area of Flora and Fauna of Cabo San Lucas and leading the debate on the importance of preserving the marine environment, through the art of graffiti and its different techniques of urban art. For the graffiti intervention, the proposal was to revitalise a wall that has an extension of approximately 40m x 3m at the Playa del Corsario. Six Mexican artists were invited, Alan Isac Hernandez Jimenez, Rodrigo Oceguera, Erick Ecsel, Miguel Angel, Ali Rene Mena Lopez and David Lopez who painted some representative animals of the Protected Area, including a Humpback whale, Californian sea lions, Munkiana Mobulas, a Marlin, Mako Shark and an Olive Ridley Turtle.
Throughout the Festival, a series of informative and educational talks were held on the environment, marine animals and actions to protect the oceans. These activities were held with the support of invited researchers, authorities and conservation organizations and discussed the issues relating to marine conservation in Los Cabos. The local community and tourism operators had the opportunity to learn and clarify doubts through dialogue.
3. Tianquiztli – Ancestral, Cultural Market of Economic Solidarity:
The proposal was to promote the balanced well-being of society with the economy in mind locally within the municipality of Los Cabos, with the option to reuse ancient concepts such as the use of barter, giving the opportunity to find the harmonious balance of supply-demand for local products. The Tianquiztli Market participated in the Festival offering local sustainable food and products. Also, there was brilliant participation from local musicians and the reciting of historical poetry symbolic of the surrounding nature.
4. Clean-up Dive:
The clean-up dive worked as a collaboration between volunteers and divers, dive operators and authorities. It was a very important action to show that litter ends up in the ocean and encourage people to re-assess their bad habits.
The Festival hosted a cinema on the beach which showcased documentaries on whales and how plastic pollution affects their lifestyles.
6. Presentations in Schools:
Throughout the festival, a group of volunteers visited some local schools to give presentations on Zero-waste lifestyles, marine conservation and the effects of human waste in the oceans.
Check out the brilliant clean up dive that took place during the festival..
Video credit: IVANA VC
A wonderful view of the beautiful mural that will leave a lasting legacy of the festival for years to come..
A huge congratulations to all involved for putting on this brilliant event!
Find out more about WCA Partner Cabo Trek here: https://cabotrek.com/