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Three tourism operators have joined forces to protect the humpback whales when they reach the end of their long migration from Antarctica to their birthing site at Ilha de Mozambique. The whales are in danger from overzealous boat operators and urgent action is needed to keep them safe
Every year the whales make the 4.000km migration to give birth in the warm waters close to Ilha de Mozambique. It’s an epic journey and not without its risks but now the whales face a new challenge – being over loved
Whale watching has never been so popular and Ilha de Mozambique is one of the best places in the world to observe these marine mammals, but we must never forget that the whales are not here for our entertainment, they are here for the serious business of mating and giving birth and they shouldn’t be disturbed.
According to Pete Allsop the operations manager for Ilha Blue, a partner in the World Cetacean Alliance, “everybody wants to see the whales when they congregate close to shore and perform spectacular acrobatic displays of jumping, fin and tail slapping, and that’s great, really fantastic, but it has to be done responsibly”.
“This is a time when the whales are at their most vulnerable, especially mothers with newborn calves which spend a lot of time feeding and resting at the surface. It only takes one careless boat operator to motor in too close to disturb and panic the baby, with possibly disastrous consequences”.
Tourism is growing and every hotel and hostel wants a piece of the action. But more boats and inexperienced operators increases the risk of an incident which can scare the whales away. “This would be bad for the whales and also bad for Mozambique’s adventure tourism economy” said Pete.
The three operators: Ilha Blue Island Safaris, Vivo Island Safaris and Genito Magic Tour. They are calling on the authorities to introduce internationally recognised whale watching standards where professional guides follow international protocols for minimum distance, safe approach and limits on how much time is spent with any one pod. In July the three operators will join together with other agencies to reach out to fishermen, tour boat operators, authorities and local schools to spread the message that these gentle giants need our urgent protection.Source: Ilha Blue / Press Release
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