January 21, 2022 Amy Pearson 0Comment

Sayulita Life gives back to the community every month by donating $5,000 to a local cause or charity in need. Sayulita Life has chosen La Orca de Sayulita as the recipient this month.

The word "ORCA" is an acronym originating from the following Spanish words: Oberva (observe), Respeta (respect), Conserva (conserve), Ayuda (help). 

La Orca de Sayulita, founded in 2014, is Sayulita's first pure whale watching and research company. Led by Nico Randsome, researcher and PhD student, a small team of biologists offer non-invasive, environmentally-conscious options for whale watching in Sayulita. All guides are passionate biologists engaged in whale research with incredible knowledge of the local whale life. La Orca de Sayulita uses whale watch trips as a platform to conduct research while using profits to support independent studies. They have been working with whales in Nayarit for 16 years and know individual whales by name and much of their life history!

The intention of La Orca de Sayulita is to show the importance of this area for North Pacific humpback whales. Nico published two papers last year and has six more in progress to demonstrate the importance of this area for the Endangered Central American distinct population segment.

Nico has worked with humpback whales in Mexico for 16 years and in many other places around the world. She specializes in spatial software and studying the spatial ecology of species to aid in conservation and management. La Orca de Sayulita focuses on humpback whales, but Nico is involved in many other projects and publications in Mexico including current work with orca, false killer whales, and blue whales.

The donation made by Sayulita Life was used for early season research to try and identify the first humpback whales sighted in Sayulita from September to November. Nico and her team ID-ed 70 whales in total, and approximately half were whales from Central America, including Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. This work is part of collaborative work which will be used to inform management in Mexico and the US. This includes regulation of the Dungeness crab fishing industry of the West Coast of the US. In Mexico, La Orca de Sayulita is trying to show how important Nayarit is for endangered whales. They recorded several of them stopping off here for several days.

La Orca de Sayulita is part of approximately 10 publications currently and is putting Sayulita on the map for whale research. They operate whale watch tours, spreading knowledge of the whales of the area, and Nico and her team train young early career biologists.

To better engage the community of Sayulita, La Orca offers local discounts to try and encourage locals to come out and learn about their work.

Funding is the biggest challenge facing La Orca Sayulita. If anyone wants to donate to their work, La Orca Sayulita invites them to come aboard and take part in the research they are supporting and see how the money is being used.

For anyone interested in supporting the early season research of La Orca De Sayulita for next season, please email Nico at nicola.ransome@murdoch.edu.au. This funding will contribute to important research. You will be thanked in the scientific publication planned for this work and we will enable you to name some of our early season whales!

The hope is to inspire a passion within each person so that they leave as life-long ambassadors for humpback whales and other whale species! Vistit La Orca de Sayulita to learn more.

Written and Edited by Amy Rose Pearson