Ensuring the Futures of Whales & Humans in Mexico
Kent Paterson - Counterpunch
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February 17, 2016
For Katherina Audley, saving whales means more than just preserving a majestic species that delights and amazes its two-legged, land-lubbing neighbors. In Mexico, Audley’s involvement with the marine mammals also signifies scientific documentation, public education, economic development and community vibrancy.
The founder of the non-profit Whales of Guerrero Research Project, Audley recently spoke with FNS at Zihuatanejo’s Ecotianguis Sanka, a weekly farmer’s and artisan’s market, about the different dimensions of her group’s work dedicated to whales - especially the migratory humpback - that appear off the coast of Guerrero state every winter. “My favorite thing is to see a sleeping whale,” Audley quipped. “It’s pretty cool when you are around animals that are relaxed.”
A former commerical fisher in Alaska who has also worked at San Francisco’s Exploratorium science museum, Audley counts 15 years as a dedicated whale watcher.
A busy woman who divides her time between Oregon and Guerrero, Audley began visiting the Mexican state’s Costa Grande nearly two decades ago. Going back in memory lane, she recalled the big fish (now not as plentiful) she would see in the ocean. “It really impressed me. I thought this was a really rich wonderland. It had not been studied. Now it has,” Audley said.
...Nowadays, the nomadic Oregonian is immersed in a project laying the groundwork for an expanded eco-tourism business that’s aimed at sustaining Barra de Potosi as well as benefiting other communities in the region. If all goes according to plan, more nature-loving visitors will spend money with boat operators, guides, restaurateurs, taxi and bus drivers, and other locals. “The idea is that local people own this project as much as the scientists,” Audley stressed.
See more information at WhalesInMexico.com or on Facebook
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