San Ignacio Lagoon

San Ignacio Lagoon (Laguna San Ignacio) is a lagoon located in Mulegé Municipality of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, 59 kilometres (37 mi) from San Ignacio, Mexico and Highway 1. It is one of the winter sanctuaries of the eastern Pacific gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus).

Official nameLaguna San Ignacio
Designated2 February 2004
Reference no.1341[1]


San Ignacio Lagoon was originally discovered by whaling captain Jared Poole, brother-in-law to captain Charles Melville Scammon. The first whaling expedition to San Ignacio Lagoon occurred in 1860 led by Scammon and six whaling vessels. Although many whaling captains would not risk losing their ships to the treacherous sand bar shoals and narrow shallow water passage into the lagoon, enough bold whaling captains did and the beginning of the near extinction of the Pacific gray whale. The lagoon is now one of the primary destinations of the Gray Whale migration.

Facts about San Ignacio Lagoon

With a local community of less than 100 inhabitants, residents depend upon fishing and whale watching as their primary means of support. The lagoon stretches sixteen miles into the desert and has a maximum width of five miles. The lagoon is divided into three sections: The upper lagoon is the shallowest and is the birthing area where pregnant females bear their young. The middle lagoon is the corridor where mothers travel with their newborn calves to the lower lagoon. The lower lagoon is where the majority of cetaceans reside and where most of the social behavior occurs. Here, males and females congregate looking for mates and newborn calves prepare themselves for the long journey north to their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic.

San Ignacio Lagoon’s significance to the world community

In 1988 Mexico established the El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve to include San Ignacio Lagoon, which is Latin America’s largest wildlife sanctuary. Not only is San Ignacio lagoon a gray whale sanctuary, but it is one of only two undeveloped nursery and breeding ground in the world of the Pacific gray whale. The other is just 4 hours away in Magdalena Bay. San Ignacio lagoon is also the critical habitat for the nearly extinct Berrendo or pronghorn antelope and an important feeding habitat for four of the worlds seven species of sea turtles: leatherbacks, hawksbills, green turtles and Olive Ridleys (all endangered). In 1993 the United Nations declared San Ignacio lagoon a World Heritage site because of its importance to the world community.


  1. ^ "Laguna San Ignacio". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.

Coordinates: 26°54′N 113°13′W / 26.900°N 113.217°W

Baja California Sur

Baja California Sur (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈbaxa kaliˈfoɾnja suɾ] (listen), English: "South Lower California"), officially the Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California Sur (English: Free and Sovereign State of South Lower California), is the second-smallest Mexican state by population and the 31st admitted state of the 31 states which, with Mexico City, make up the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico.

Before becoming a state on 8 October 1974, the area was known as the El Territorio Sur de Baja California ("South Territory of Lower California"). It has an area of 73,909 km2 (28,536 sq mi), or 3.57% of the land mass of Mexico, and occupies the southern half of the Baja California Peninsula, south of the 28th parallel, plus the uninhabited Rocas Alijos in the Pacific Ocean. It is bordered to the north by the state of Baja California, to the west by the Pacific Ocean, and to the east by the Gulf of California, or the "Sea of Cortés". The state has maritime borders with Sonora and Sinaloa to the east, across the Gulf of California.

The state is home to the tourist resorts of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. Its largest city and capital is La Paz.

Charles Melville Scammon

Charles Melville Scammon (1825-1911) was a 19th-century whaleman, naturalist, and author. He was the first to hunt the gray whales of both Laguna Ojo de Liebre and San Ignacio Lagoon, the former once being called "Scammon's Lagoon" after him. In 1874 he wrote the book The Marine Mammals of the North-western Coast of North America, which was a financial failure. It is now considered a classic.Scammon was born in Pittston, Maine, on May 28, 1825. In 1850 he sailed for California. On April 1, 1852 he left San Francisco in command of the brig Mary Helen (160 tons) on a combined sealing and whaling voyage. He returned on August 26 with 350 barrels of oil obtained from elephant seals. During the winter of 1855-56 he was among the vessels hunting gray whales in Magdalena Bay, when he was commanding the ship Leonore. In December 1857, commanding the brig Boston, with the schooner-tender Marin, he first hunted the gray whales of Laguna Ojo de Liebre, catching twenty. The following winter (1858–59), commanding the bark Ocean Bird and accompanied by the schooner tenders A.M. Simpson and Kate, he returned to the lagoon, catching forty-seven cows. In the winter of 1859-60 he first exploited another lagoon to the south, San Ignacio. Within a few seasons it had been swept clean of whales.In 1860-61 he returned to Laguna Ojo de Liebre in the bark Ocean Bird, taking a paltry 245 barrels of oil – about seven whales. In the summer of 1862 he sailed to the Sea of Okhotsk in the San Francisco ship William C. Nye. He cruised around Iony Island and Shantar Bay until September, catching only three bowhead whales. In the winter of 1862-63 he hunted gray whales in Magdalena Bay, his last whaling cruise. He spent the following three decades in the Revenue Service, before retiring from disability in 1895.

In October 1870, Scammon collected the 27-foot-long type specimen of the Davidson piked whale (Balaenoptera davidsoni, Scammon, 1872); it had been found dead on the shores of Admiralty Inlet by Italian fishermen, who towed it to Port Townsend Bay, where they flensed it.He is the brother of J. Young Scammon and Eliakim P. Scammon.

Gray whale

The gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus), also known as the grey whale, gray back whale, Pacific gray whale, or California gray whale, is a baleen whale that migrates between feeding and breeding grounds yearly. It reaches a length of 14.9 meters (49 ft), a weight of 36 tonnes (40 short tons), and lives between 55 and 70 years. The common name of the whale comes from the gray patches and white mottling on its dark skin. Gray whales were once called devil fish because of their fighting behavior when hunted. The gray whale is the sole living species in the genus Eschrichtius, which in turn is the sole living genus in the family Eschrichtiidae. This mammal descended from filter-feeding whales that appeared at the beginning of the Oligocene, over 30 million years ago.

The gray whale is distributed in an eastern North Pacific (North American), and an endangered western North Pacific (Asian), population. North Atlantic populations were extirpated (perhaps by whaling) on the European coast before AD 500, and on the American coast around the late 17th to early 18th centuries. Even so, on May 8, 2010, a sighting of a gray whale was confirmed off the coast of Israel in the Mediterranean Sea, leading some scientists to think they might be repopulating old breeding grounds that have not been visited for centuries. In May and June 2013, a gray whale was sighted off the coast of Namibia – the first confirmed in the Southern Hemisphere. The round-trip journey of one gray whale has set a new record for the longest mammal migration, covering a distance of more than 22,000 kilometres across the Pacific Ocean. Her migration has shown new insight into how endangered species are making drastic changes in their life style.

Homero Aridjis

Homero Aridjis (born April 6, 1940) is a Mexican poet, novelist, environmental activist, journalist and diplomat known for his rich imagination, poetry of lyrical beauty, and ethical independence.

Hurricane Jimena (2009)

Hurricane Jimena was the second-strongest hurricane of the 2009 Pacific hurricane season, and tied with Hurricane Norbert as the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall on western portion of the Baja California Peninsula. Forming from a tropical wave late on August 28, 2009, off of Mexico's Pacific coast, the system rapidly intensified into a Category 2 hurricane on the next day. Two days after developing, Jimena strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane. After peaking close to Category 5 intensity on September 1, it encountered cold water and began to weaken. When the hurricane made landfall on the Baja California Peninsula on September 3, it was only a Category 2 hurricane. On the next day, the tropical cyclone entered the Gulf of California, though the storm weakened into a remnant low after looping back eastward towards Baja California. The storm's remnants drifted westward into the Pacific afterward, before dissipating on September 8.

When the storm made landfall, Jimena caused $173.9 million USD in damage. The system killed four people across the peninsula. In Baja California Sur, the town of Mulegé was devastated with other areas in the region also receiving major damage. In Sonora, record rainfall fell, with some areas receiving more than 20 in (510 mm). Statewide damage totaled at $37 million USD while five people were killed and two others were listed as missing. The remnants of the storm also triggered thunderstorms in the Southwestern United States, causing minor damage.

Laguna San Ignacio Airstrip

Laguna San Ignacio Airstrip (IATA: N/A) is a private dirt airstrip located in Laguna San Ignacio, Municipality of Mulegé, Baja California Sur, Mexico.

Laguna San Ignacio is a small village located on the San Ignacio Lagoon shore, a world-renowned nursery and breeding ground for the gray whale that is within the limits of the El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve.

The airstrip is used solely for general aviation purposes, specially for whale watching tourism. The RCX code is the official identifier.

Last Chance to See (TV series)

Last Chance to See is a wildlife documentary first broadcast on BBC Two in the United Kingdom during September and October 2009. The series is a follow-up of the radio series, also called Last Chance to See, in which Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine set out to find endangered animals. In this updated television version, produced for the BBC, Stephen Fry and Carwardine revisit the animals originally featured to see how they're getting on almost 20 years later.In one episode, a male kakapo, called Sirocco, mounts and attempts to mate with Carwardine's head. Sirocco found fame after the video of his antics became an internet hit, and was later anointed as New Zealand's "spokesbird for conservation".A Last Chance to See special called "Return of the Rhino" was broadcast on BBC Two on 31 October 2010. The programme followed four of the last remaining northern white rhinos as they were transferred from Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic to Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a protected reserve in Kenya, in a last-ditch attempt to save the subspecies from extinction.

Mexican Federal Highway 1

Federal Highway 1 (Spanish: Carretera Federal 1, Fed. 1) is a free (libre) part of the federal highway corridors (los corredores carreteros federates) of Mexico, and the highway follows the length of the Baja California Peninsula from Tijuana, Baja California, in the north to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, in the south. The road connects with Via Rapida, which merges into the American Interstate 5 (I-5) at the international border south of San Ysidro, California.

Fed. 1 is often called the Carretera Transpeninsular (Transpeninsular Highway) and runs a length of 1,711 kilometres (1,063 mi) from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas. Most of its course is two lanes. Completed in 1973, its official name is the Benito Juárez Transpeninsular Highway (Carretera Transpeninsular Benito Juarez). It is named after one of Mexico's most revered heroes.

Odostomia fetella

Odostomia fetella is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Pyramidellidae, the pyrams and their allies.

San Ignacio, Baja California Sur

San Ignacio is a palm oasis town in Mulegé Municipality of northern Baja California Sur state in Mexico.

It is located on Mexican Federal Highway 1 between Guerrero Negro and Santa Rosalía.

The town had a 2010 census population of 667 inhabitants and grew at the site of the Cochimí settlement of Kadakaamán and the Jesuit Mission San Ignacio founded in 1728 by Juan Bautista Luyando.

Savannah sparrow

The Savannah sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) is a small American sparrow. It was the only member of the genus Passerculus and is typically the only widely accepted member. Comparison of mtDNA NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 and 3 sequences indicates that the Ipswich sparrow, formerly usually considered a valid species (as Passerculus princeps), is a well-marked subspecies of the Savannah sparrow, whereas the southwestern large-billed sparrow should be recognized as a distinct species (Passerculus rostratus).The common name comes from Savannah, Georgia, where one of the first specimens of this bird was collected.

Serge Dedina

Serge Dedina is the current mayor of Imperial Beach, California and Executive Director of Wildcoast, a non-profit environmentalist group. A member of the Democratic Party, he was elected 18th Mayor of Imperial Beach in 2014.

Turbonilla ignacia

Turbonilla ignacia is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Pyramidellidae, the pyrams and their allies.


Wildcoast (stylized WiLDCOAST) is an international non-profit environmental organization that conserve coastal and marine ecosystem and wildlife.

Headquartered in Imperial Beach, California, in 2007 Wildcoast established a Mexican division, Costasalvaje A.C. in Tijuana to manage its conservation programs in Latin America.

Charity Navigator awarded Wildcoast its four-star charity ranking. The organization received the Excellence in Organizational Development Award from Nonprofit Management Solutions in 2006. It also received the San Diego Earthworks E.A.R.T.H. Award in 2007. In 2008, Wildcoast received the Green Wave Award from the Surfer's Path Magazine.

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