IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF GRAY WHALE ESCHRICHTIUS ROBUSTUS POPULATIONS: WHALE WATCHING AND CONSERVATION
CHRISTIAN JAVIER SALVADEO
SALVADOR EMILIO LLUCH COTA
MARTIN OCTAVIO MARAVILLA CHAVEZ
SERGIO TICUL ALVAREZ CASTAÑEDA
ALFREDO ORTEGA RUBIO
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"Some pods of gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) breed every winter at three lagoons along the Baja California Peninsula and then migrate to feeding grounds on the Bering and Chukchi Seas. The number of whales arriving to the lagoons fluctuates yearly and is related to climate variability. We analyzed the documented climate effects on the whales over their distribution range and discuss the potential effects of global climate warming in their breeding areas. Our analysis indicates that global warming will be favorable for gray whale populations, but unfavorable for the Mexican whale-watching industry: favorable, because fluctuations in calf production have been positively correlated with the length of time that the primary feeding habitat was free of seasonal ice during the previous year. However, if gray whales change their breeding areas to northern bays, they will be exposed to new challenges, which will have repercussions on the whale-watching industry. We discuss these new challenges."
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