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06/09/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Whale Watching In Laguna San Ignacio

(Text and Photos courtesy of the NRDC)

Laguna San Ignacio
, on the west coast of the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico is a World Heritage Site, a biosphere reserve, a whale sanctuary, a migratory bird sanctuary, and the last place on Earth where gray whales can breed and calve undisturbed. Each year, hundreds of gray whales swim thousands of miles from the Arctic to mate, give birth and nurse their young in the warm waters of this near-pristine lagoon. There aren't many places in the world with so many layers of formal protection, and there is no better wildlife experience anywhere.

The campaign to save Laguna San Ignacio was initiated by Mexican poet and environmentalist Homero Aridjis, his wife Betty, and El Grupo de los Cien. The Natural Resources Defense Council, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and many others including Jean-Michel Cousteau of Ocean Futures Society, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and film stars Pierce Brosnan and Glenn Close joined them in their efforts. Recently, these advocates celebrated the tenth anniversary of their victory to persuade the Mexican government to abandon a massive Mitsubishi saltworks project that would have destroyed the lagoon and whale breeding habitat.

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