Successful Whale Rescue in the Isla Contoy Protected Natural Area

Specialists of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), elements of the Marine Mammal Strand Network of Quintana Roo, tourism service providers of the Caribbean Connection company and local fishermen, worked together in the successful mission of rescue of a specimen Fin whale or rorqual whale (Balaenoptera physalus) that roamed near Faro beach, belonging to the Protected Natural Area (ANP) Isla Contoy National Park.

Infants from the Secretariat of the Navy (SEMAR) informed CONANP personnel of the stranding of a whale. The park ranger captain of this Protected Natural Area inspected the area and gave notice to the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (PROFEPA) and to the Marine Mammal Strand Network of Quintana Roo.

More than 40 people participated in the rescue work, which required special care since the beached specimen was identified as a fin or fin whale 18 meters long. It was a young animal that presented little weight and did not present recent wounds. The mammal was secured with ropes in its ventral area and without damaging it, it was possible to tow it to a deep area where it could swim out towards the open sea.

After 15 minutes of swimming, the rorqual reached a speed of 20 knots and moved away from the island, confirming its optimal state of health. The fin whale is the second largest animal on the planet, as it can measure up to 26 meters in length, is characterized by having an asymmetric coloration and the right white lip. It is a kind of shy and elusive behaviour, is a fast swimmer and can exceed up to 20 knots of speed and submerge up to 230 meters deep.

It feeds on crustaceans, small fish and plankton. Although there were already reports of sightings of the species in deep waters of the Mexican Caribbean, this stranding confirms the presence and passage of this colossal species in the area. In Mexican waters, it is common to find groups of this species in the Gulf of California. According to the Official Mexican Standard NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2010, it is a species Subject to Special Protection in our country.

The National Park (PN) Isla Contoy is the most important refuge of marine birds of the Mexican Caribbean, its lagoons and low jungles are home to more than 152 species of migratory birds. Among its emblematic species are the red and black mangrove, the leatherback, green and hawksbill turtles, the frigate, the brown pelican, the red heron and the laughing gull.

Successful whale rescue in the Isla Contoy Protected Natural Area

In 1998 the island was declared a National Park and since then only human activities have been allowed on 5% of its surface, which includes a fishermen’s camp, the Visitor Center and the Navy Secretary’s camp.


Source: Mi Punto de Vista