I monitored humpback whales!

Guest post by Paso Pacífico volunteer Ula Leavitt. In early 2023, Ula traveled to Playa Los Cóbanos, El Salvador on Paso Pacífico’s behalf to participate in humpback whale research with Proyecto Megaptera. Their research is being carried out in partnership with The Society for Marine MammalogyPanacetaceaPRIMMA/UABCSIDEA WILDLa Orca de SayulitaFundación Naturaleza El SalvadorBar Ballena and Ministerio de Medio Ambiente.

I am a 16 year old Oak Grove School student. I have a huge passion for helping the environment and animals. Ever since I was a child I have known that protecting nature is what I want to do in life. I was happy to know that Paso Pacifico and partners were working hard to protect the whales in El Salvador. I was very interested in going there to help with research on endangered humpback whales.

Early January of this year I flew to El Salvador. I stayed in a small town right by the ocean. Every day in El Salvador, I would either be on the water first hand recording how many whales I saw or helping input the scientific data that we collected.

For example, we would photograph the fluke of the whale and then enter the images into a website called Happywhale to match our sightings to whales in their database. I learned a lot about not only whale information but how their population is dwindling due to climate change, ship collisions, commercial whaling and so much more.

It is so important to be educated on what threats are hurting this species’ population. Since I am from California, it is so interesting that the whales I saw in El Salvador could be seen here because of their migrations. Hopefully in the future I will be able to share what I learned with others.

Going to El Salvador was an amazing experience that I will never forget.


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