El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve
|El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve|
IUCN category VI (protected area with sustainable use of natural resources)
A pelican on the coast of the El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve
|Location||Baja California Sur, Mexico|
|Nearest city||Mulegé Municipality|
|Area||55,555 km2 (21,450 sq mi)|
|Official name||Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino|
|Designated||1993 (17th session)|
|Region||Latin America and the Caribbean|
The El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve, created in 1988, is located in Mulegé Municipality in northern Baja California Sur, at the center of the Baja California Peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California. With a landmass of over 9,625 square-miles (24,930 square km), it is the largest wildlife refuge in Mexico and borders on the northern edge of the Valle de los Cirios Protected Area of Flora and Fauna.
The Cochimi first inhabited this region over eleven thousand years ago, nomads who came from the north of the American continent. These nomadic wanderers lived in the protection of caves in the Sierra San Francisco mountain range. Travelers trekking into this mountainous region can still see their cave art. Spanish conquistadores arrived in the area in the 16th century. Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo was the first explorer to navigate the coastlines, whereas Sebastián Vizcaíno explored the inlands of the later biosphere reserve in 1596 on behalf of Gaspar de Zúñiga, viceroy of New Spain.
Animals that have adapted to these extreme conditions include a variety of nocturnals such as coyotes, rodents, and hares; others have adapted to only ingesting water from succulents. Outstanding among the mammals is the Baja California pronghorn (Antilocapra americana peninsularis), an endemic subspecies of the Pronghorn, which is one of the swiftest mammals on Earth. The last populations of this subspecies can be found in the region. The Vizcaíno is also the habitat of the desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni), Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus peninsulae), and dozens of resident and migratory birds. Of special importance: the ospreys, cormorants, herons, and gulls—and four species of sea turtles. On the coastline and islets there are many marine mammals, such as northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris), California sea lions (Zalophus californianus), dolphins, and gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus).
- Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve - Park Profile - General information. Retrieved 09-14-2008.
- ANP 282 - El Vizcaíno Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 01-03-2015.
- Jiménez González, Victor Manuel (July 2015). Baja California Sur - Los Cabos - Cabo San Lucas - Loreto - La Paz: Guía de viaje del Estado de Baja California Sur.