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Located on the Pacific coast of Baja California Sur, Laguna San Ignacio is a major foraging ground for the threatened East Pacific Green turtle. The lagoon, part of the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve, was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1993 and a Ramsar site in 2004 (wise use of wetlands convention). It extends some 20 miles east into the coastal desert and hosts at least 85 species of algae, extensive sea grass and a great variety of marine fauna, including grey whales, approximately 173 species of birds, and at least 107 species of fish.

Dolphins are magnificent creatures and, for many of us, the dream of a lifetime is to swim with them. We feel an innate connection to them and instinctively search for a contact. But do they feel the same? Be perceived as friend or foe is mostly about the way we behave during an encounter at sea. Our project investigates dolphin responses to tourism pressures to propose best practices and management schemes to safeguard dolphins while allowing sustainable tourism.

 

This project started in 2011 and was run in collaboration with the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA) and Islam Elsadek, Park Ranger and Master student at the University of Suez Canal. The goal of the project was to collect baseline information on marine turtles in their feeding and nesting grounds in the Egyptian Red Sea.

 

In Baja California Sur, Mexico, mortality of marine mammals and turtles due to bycatch is known to be a major problem. However, it is very difficult to estimate the impact of fisheries on marine wildlife: most studies use strandings as proxies for mortality at-sea but...are all dead animals at-sea reaching the beaches that we are monitoring? During this project we used 1,000 oranges as organic floaters to study seasonal currents and estimate stranding rates at 5 locations on the pacific coast of Baja California Sur. The results were quite surprising!

 

A BECster can be defined as a conservationist with a great love for nature. Back in 2010, a team of BECsters decided to start a coast-to-coast trip across Mexico to visit as many conservation projects as possible,  promote BEC activities and create new partnerships. Altough the trip is now over, you can read some memories of a life-time trip here.

 

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