Research in Ecuador

Our research in Ecuador began in 2002 and is based in the waters of Machalilla National Park. The town of Puerto Lopéz, in Ecuador’s Manabí province, is the headquarters for Machalilla National Park and the location for our Ecuador offices. Ecuador is a breeding ground for humpback whales belonging to breeding stock G and home to a population of common bottlenose dolphins. One of our primary focuses in Ecuador is on the growth of ecotourism in the area and its potential impact on the region’s humpback whales. Led by Dr. Cristina Paola Castro, the program also seeks to improve economic growth and development of local communities in Ecuador by promoting conservation and education. Some of our current studies are described below.

Research activities conducted under permits from Machalilla National Park/Actividades de investigación realizadas bajo los permisos del Parque Nacional Machalilla.

Watch the Video “Migration towards Prosperity,” presented to the 65th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission with an enthusiastic response. This documentary sends a strong message from Ecuador and the Buenos Aires Group that whales are a more beneficial as a living resource rather than being hunted. This video reinforced the IWC’s 5-year strategic whale watching plan in favor of protecting whales and the ocean environment.


    Reaching the Youth of Ecuador

    Journey with us to Ecuador and experience Pacific Whale Foundation’s efforts to educate the community and youth of the area with our new children’s book, written by PWF Ecuador Programs Director Dr. Cristina Castro. It teaches them about local marine life and the threats they face, while stressing how we can each make a difference. Much of environmental education in Ecuador is focused on the jungle habitat, but there is a lack of education about the ocean and its inhabitants.

    Ecuador ama la vida TV interview with Dr. Cristina Castro

    Join our Ecuador Programs Director, Dr. Cristina Paola Castro, in these Spanish-language training sessions for boat operators in Ecuador. Dr. Castro provides information on humpback whales and what boat operators can do to better protect them and other marine life. These are open to the public for all to learn and enjoy.

    Únase a nuestra Directora de Investigación de Ecuador, Dra. Cristina Paola Castro, en estas sesiónes informativa sobre ballenas y otros cetáceos en el Pacífico Sur. Está abierto al público para que todos puedan aprender y disfrutar.

    In this Spanish-language training session, Dr. Castro is joined by Luna Barragán, a PWF collaborator and Pierre Gallego of PWF Odyssea, in which they cover topics that include photo identification of humpback whales in Machalilla National Park, deciphering the songs of humpback whales, and the organic contaminants found in the fat of humpback whales.

    Reúnase con nuestra Investigadora y Directora de la Fundación Pacific Whale Ecuador, la bióloga Dra. Cristina Castro, también Luna Barragán, colaboradora de Fundación Pacific Whale y Pierre Gallego de Fundación Pacific Whale Odyssea. Esta reunión cubrirá temas que incluyen Foto Identificación de ballenas jorobadas en el Parque Nacional Machalilla, descifrando los Cantos de Ballenas Jorobadas, y los contaminantes orgánicos encontrados en la grasa de las ballenas jorobadas

Hawaii Visitor Update

Aloha, We Are Open!  Our PacWhale Eco-Adventures are open for booking as we welcome visitors back to Maui.  Quarantine restrictions were lifted on Oct. 15th for those following the state’s pre-arrival COVID-19 testing requirements.