Humpback whale breaching


Park rangers in Ecuador’s Machalilla National Park have just completed their fourth year of rescuing humpback whales, which are often found entangled in fishing gear. So far, park rangers have saved 13 whales, including four rescues this year alone.

From June through September, humpback whales are a prominent sight along the coast of Ecuador where they travel thousands of miles to take advantage of the temperate waters to mate and birth their calves. Every June, the community of Puerto Lopez celebrates their return with the annual humpback whale festival. Their arrival is cause for celebration for the small community of Puerto Lopez, which heavily depends on revenue from whale watching tourism.

According to a study by the Pacific Whale Foundation, whale watching is one of world’s fastest-growing tourism sectors, and one that brings tens of millions of dollars in tourism revenue to coastal Ecuador. Nearly 60% of tourists in Machalilla are driven by the humpback whale breeding season off the coast of Isla de la Plata, making the park one of Ecuador’s top tourist destinations.

However, humpback whales and other large marine animals including sharks, sea turtles and mantas are threatened by unsustainable fishing methods, illegal fishing and climate change. Thousands of whales and cetaceans die every year as bycatch. Humpback whales, attracted by krill and small marine species, often get entangled in fishing lines or nets, which can cause the animals to drown.

In response, in 2013 Machalilla National Park authorities established a whale rescue unit that has been trained in procedures for entangled whales, using special tools to free them. The park rangers also developed an outreach component to inform tour operators and other boat captains about the program so that they can report whales in need of help.

Thanks to the support of our donors, WildAid is helping the park rangers at Machalilla to prevent illegal fishing, and also launch operational missions, including humpback whale rescues. We work directly with park rangers to train and support them in their work, underwrite operations, enforce tourism regulations, arrest illegal fishers and deliver outreach campaigns to educate local communities on the benefits of a healthy marine environment and the importance of reducing fishing pressures in specific areas.


WildAid Colabora Con Parque Nacional Machalilla Para Salvar a Las Ballenas Jorobadas

Los guardaparques del Parque Nacional Machalilla acaban de completar su cuarto año de rescates de ballenas jorobadas, cuales se encuentran enredadas en artes de pesca. Ya han rescatado 13 ballenas, incluyendo cuatro este año.

Desde Junio hasta Septiembre, las ballenas jorobadas se pueden ver a través de la costa de Ecuador, donde viajan desde hace miles de millas para tomar ventaja de las aguas cálidas para dar a luz a sus crías. Cada Junio, la comunidad de Puerto López celebra las ballenas con un festival anual de las ballenas jorobadas. Su arribo es causa para celebración para la comunidad pequeña debido a los miles de turistas que llegan para verlas específicamente.

En un estudio hecho por el Pacific Whale Foundation, casi el 60% de los turistas que llegan a Machalilla tienen interés en ver a las ballenas jorobadas y traen más de diez millón de dólares cada año al Ecuador.

Sin embargo, las artes de pesca no sustentables, la pesca ilegal y el cambio climático amenazan a las ballenas jorobadas y otras especies marinas como los tiburones, tortugas y mantarrayas. Miles de ballenas mueren cada año como pesca incidental, atraídas por krill.

Por eso, el Parque Nacional Machalilla estableció este programa de rescates, entreno a los guardaparques en procedimientos especiales para utilizar herramientas para liberar a las ballenas. Este programa también incluye educación para los operadores de barcos turísticos para avisarles donde pueden reportar a las ballenas enredadas.

Gracias al apoyo de nuestros donadores, WildAid ayuda a los guardaparques de Machalilla para prevenir la pesca ilegal, el uso de artes de pesca ilegales y con la expansión del programa de rescate de ballenas. Trabajamos directamente con los guardaparques para entrenarlos y apoyarlos en su trabajo, fundar a las operaciones y educar a la comunidad en los beneficios de un ámbito marino saludable.

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About WildAid

WildAid is a non-profit organization with a mission to protect wildlife from illegal trade and other imminent threats. While most wildlife conservation groups focus on protecting animals from poaching, WildAid primarily works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and shark fin soup. With an unrivaled portfolio of celebrity ambassadors and a global network of media partners, WildAid leverages more than $308 million in annual pro-bono media support with a simple message: When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too. 

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