Protecting San Ignacio Lagoon Whales

Gray whales occupy a vital role in the food chain, health of the marine environment, and our understanding of marine mammals. Scientific studies of whales and other cetacean species have led to many discoveries and advancements regarding echolocation, marine mammal intelligence, and other topics of oceanography. Whale excrement has been proven to stabilize the offset of carbon in the atmosphere, providing a healthier environment for both land and aquatic lifeforms. In fact, whales absorb an average of 33 tons of CO₂ each throughout their lives, thus playing their part in combating climate change. Whale watching has also become a popular activity and tourism booster which serves as a major economic source for the region’s inhabitants.


Laguna San Ignacio is one of the last places on earth where gray whales can give birth and raise their young. It provides important critical habitats for migratory birds and local fisheries. Although the region is an internationally recognized protected area, its ecological integrity is still threatened by coastal development, land speculation, improper waste disposal, and the ongoing threats of maritime infrastructure development and resource extraction projects. The gray whale is also suffering from nutrient depletion due to warming of the Bering Sea, their feeding ground for most of the year. As more whales are killed, local economies will see a negative shift and the ocean’s food distribution will become destabilized and cause disruptions in the survival of other marine species. This makes the need to protect the lagoons where gray whales mate and give birth much more urgent.

The Laguna San Ignacio Whale Conservation Fund

The Laguna San Ignacio Whale Conservation Fund held at the International Community Foundation supports the long-term protection of Laguna San Ignacio on the Pacific coast of Baja California, Mexico, and the gray whales who use the Laguna as a nursery for their young. From 2000-2015, ICF and the Laguna San Ignacio Conservation Alliance have partnered with the local community to successfully secure the permanent protection of over 340,000 acres of critical habitat, virtually eliminating the threat of any industrial or large-scale commercial activity. ICF and the LSI Conservation Alliance continue to work with the people of Laguna San Ignacio to identify sustainable economic alternatives and to protect this beautiful and wild place through strategies such as research, grantmaking, and capacity building. 

 Gray Whale Conservation

Located on a 250-mile coastal wetland complex including mangrove forests, estuaries, and intertidal flats, this wild and pristine place has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a Biosphere Reserve, a migratory bird sanctuary, and one of the last undeveloped gray whale birthing lagoons on the planet.

How To Help Whale Conservation

The goal of the Alliance is to provide permanent protection for Laguna San Ignacio and its gray whales through protecting key lands, promoting sustainable economic development, and monitoring and removing threats. We are seeking $200,000 to protect and monitor the San Ignacio Lagoon and the gray whales for 2 years. ICF’s Environment portfolio seeks to protect the natural beauty and ecological integrity of the regions where we work through collaborative initiatives, such as the Laguna San Ignacio Conservation Alliance.

Donate today to our San Ignacio Lagoon Whale Conservation Fund to help us ensure the long-term survival of Mexico’s biological diversity by protecting the places where native plants and animals can survive for generations to come. 


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