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January 26, 2015

BAJA CALIFORNIA MEGA RESERVE

3,265,289 ACRES CONSERVED BY WILDCOAST SINCE 2000
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Gray whale at Laguna San Ignacio, Baja California Sur Photo: Gilad Rom

The town of El Rosario marks the last outpost in Baja California before the peninsula’s vast Central Desert. About 30 miles south of town, Boojum trees, also known as cirios, appear. These carrot-like plants can grow up to 50 feet tall and are named after an imaginary creature from Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark.” The Boojums mark the boundary of a collection of five wildlife reserves: Valle de los Cirios, El Vizcaíno, Bahía de los Ángeles, Archipiélago San Lorenzo and the Scammon’s Lagoon Complex. These reserves make up the 15.2-million-acre Baja California Mega Reserve, one of the world’s top 15 largest contiguous areas of wildlife protection.

The Baja California Mega Reserve encompasses both the Pacific and Gulf of California coastlines. It includes gray whale birthing lagoons, the world’s only remaining population of wild peninsular pronghorn, some of the largest bighorn sheep in North America, a critical habitat for cetaceans, islands with wildlife and plants that exist nowhere else on earth, some of the most important sustainably managed commercial fishing grounds in the world and critical habitat for millions of migratory birds.

WILDCOAST is working to help improve the conservation and stewardship of this wilderness
and conserve its magnificent wildlife. Over the past year in the Valle de los Cirios, we conserved 3,138 acres and 3.5 miles of Pacific coastline through land acquisition. Additionally, our partnership with the local ranchers resulted in the cleanup of tons of old fish camp debris and trash. Overall we have helped to protect 33,367 acres and 36.7 miles of coastline in the Valle de los Cirios, making our effort one of the largest private coastal protected areas in North America.

In El Vizcaíno, a 6.2-million-acre reserve, we are working with CONANP to update the management
plan to help improve the protection of gray whales, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep and the region’s globally significant coastal and marine ecosystems. Additionally, our WILDCOAST chapters in Punta Abreojos, La Bocana and Bahia Asuncion are working diligently to clean up the coastline and conserve critical wetlands and reefs vital for maintaining valuable lobster and abalone grounds.