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February 03, 2015

ISLANDS OF THE PACIFIC OF BAJA CALIFORNIA

Fay Cevoshay
Medium_image
Photo Ralph Hopkins

Just offshore from the WILDCOAST office in Imperial Beach are the often fog-shrouded Coronado Islands. These lovely isles are home to elephant seals, harbor seals and thousands of Xantus’s murrelets, a nocturnal seabird. The Coronados are among 30 Islands of the Pacific that extend along the Pacific Coast of the Baja California Peninsula from the U.S.–Mexico border to Bahia Magdalena.

These special places are home to a host of species that exist nowhere else on earth. Altogether, the Islands of the Pacific have 50% more endemic species of vertebrates and plants per surface area than the Galapagos Islands. The water around the islands is rich and filled with marine life. The area from Cedros Island to Magdalena Island is the most productive fisheries zone in Mexico, on which 60,000 jobs depend. The high productivity is due to the nutrition that comes from the islands into the water, as well as the mangroves and rocky, pristine reefs around the islands.

WILDCOAST is working with our partners to create
the 663,490-acre Islands of the Pacific Biosphere Reserve to preserve these oceanic treasures. In October we organized a special photographic exhibition of

the islands in Mexico’s Senate to demonstrate why preserving these ”Galapagos of Mexico” is so critical. Our work to preserve the rich ecosystems of the islands is ongoing. Meanwhile, we are helping to preserve hundreds of miles of Bahia Magdalena shoreline and mangroves through innovative federal conservation concessions, in partnership with CONANP. Once
the new Islands of the Pacific Biosphere Reserve is established we look forward to making it the crown jewel of Mexico’s national park system.