This is how ecotourism hurts whales in Mexico

Unregulated ecotourism, poor observation practices and the impulse of general tourism on the coasts are destroying the habitats of Mexican whales.

Photo: Pueblos de México
Photo: Pueblos de México

The so-called "ecological" tourism, which is generally unregulated, is affecting the whales of the Mexican seas: fungal infections, run over by boats, noise from boats and pollution are some of the problems that plague mammals.

Every year, almost 20 thousand gray whales and six thousand humpbacks migrate to the Mexican Pacific coast and the Revillagigedo Islands, where they find favorable places to mate and care for their young, said Luis Medrano González, a researcher at the Faculty of Sciences in Communication from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

Hence the seriousness of the destruction of their habitats, threatened by the unregulated development of ecotourism, poor observation practices, the impulse of general tourism on the coasts, and the plans that offer visits to remote places, such as islands.

Although Mexico has conservation standards and adequate tourism promoters, the problem is that the observation of cetaceans is a practice that is often poorly carried out, which is more due to the profit motives of people and companies than to policies of conservation or education, explains Medrano.

"There are important efforts to resolve this situation, but in general the bad practices persist and to that are added other factors, also derived from tourism, such as the noise of the numerous boats and the run over of these mammals by large ships."

The pollution generated by tourism and urban developments is combined with large amounts of waste that are pathogenic for these mammals, he said.

"What must exist is, first, a sustainable social development, fair, respectful of biodiversity and the environment, in addition, it requires better governance and a sense of environmental and social responsibility in the development of all economic activities."

Medrano says that it is possible to have sustainable tourism, but if it goes hand in hand with social development and not with large projects that benefit the few and affect the lives of many.

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