Research in Ecuador

Our research in Ecuador is based out of Machalilla National Park and focuses primarily 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.

Watch the Video “Migration towards Prosperity” was been presented to the 65th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission and received 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 whalewatching plan in favor of protecting whales and the ocean environment.

Watch interview with Cristina Castro, Ecuador Research Director

  • Humpback Whales in Machalilla National Park

    We aim to establish a comprehensive photo-identification catalog for humpback whales located in or near Machalilla National Park. This catalog can then be compared with other local catalogs throughout the West Latin America region as well as to the Antarctic catalog. These research efforts will promote adoption of conservation-minded attitudes as the people of the Machalilla National Park area continue to develop an ecotourism-centered economy.

  • Migratory Interchange of Humpback Whales in South America

    Little is known about the migratory movements of the West Latin America population of humpback whales. Standardized research protocols across regions will help researchers work together to establish a comprehensive photo-identification catalog and determine how humpback whales are using these areas. Specifically, we are interested in the interchange of animals between habitats in Ecuador and Peru, since there is recent evidence to suggest that waters off the coast of Peru may be a site of breeding activity for these whales, rather than solely a migration corridor as previously thought.



Our thoughts go out to all that are being impacted by COVID-19. With a team dedicated to our response to this pandemic, we are meeting regularly to ensure the continuation of programs and services that allow our mission work to continue.

Pacific Whale Foundation’s leadership team is closely monitoring updates from the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization regarding COVID-19. We will continue to seek guidance from these agencies, public health officials and government agencies on an ongoing basis.

The role that our organization plays in keeping people connected for the sake of the environment is incredibly important in times like these. If we all take the proper precautions and continue to treat each other with kindness and care, we’ll get through this together.

How is PacWhale Eco-Adventures addressing COVID-19?

-Following guidance from Hawaii State and County officials, PacWhale is suspending Eco Tours and our Retail Store operations from March 20th – April 30th. 

- To support our employees, we are offering paid, temporary emergency sick leave, restricting all non-essential business travel, deep cleaning work areas, offering teleworking and flexible work schedules, and continuing to communicate updates and reinforce good hygiene practices.

How is Pacific Whale Foundation addressing COVID-19?

-Spring Break Ocean Camp has been cancelled.

-Keiki Whalewatches are being cancelled for the remainder of the season.

- Our marine research and conservation programs will continue to run without disruption.