As part of our research and environmental education project sponsored by the Save Our Seas Foundation, we are committed to promoting the importance of sharks in the Mexican Caribbean and making known their importance as part of the biodiversity in this region.
In summer 2021, we organised a children’s drawing campaign to invite children to draw the whale shark. During May to September is the whale shark season in the Mexican Caribbean. This event has ecological and biological importance. In addition, the docility and large size of the whale shark are an enormous attraction for the development of ecotourism activities. For more than a decade in the Mexican Caribbean, ecological tourism has been promoted based on observation and swimming with the whale shark. Currently, this activity generates essential revenues for the tourism sector in the area. During the summer months, tour operators carry out whale shark swimming activities in different places such as Isla Holbox and Isla Mujeres. One of the main threats identified for the species is bad practices when carrying out tourist activities with the whale shark. For example, swimming very close on the whale sharks can cause changes in their behaviour patterns or behaviour. Therefore, we decided to carry out this campaign to familiarise and sensitise the children’s audience with the whale shark.
The COVID situation generated modifications to this children’s campaign initially. The campaign would happen for children only on Isla Holbox. Here, our project with Save Our Seas Foundation is focused. However, COVID limited our mobility in the Peninsula during summer, coupled with increased COVID cases on Holbox. Even so, we decided to launch this campaign online from our headquarters on Isla Cozumel, inviting children who live in the Yucatan Peninsula and throughout Mexico. We received an outstanding response since it is the first interactive campaign that we carried out with Mar Sustentable.
In total, 74 children wrote to us. Sixty-nine were from Mexico. The comments received about our campaign were very positive, and each child received an electronic certificate of participation to celebrate their involvement.
The continuation of this campaign was the realisation of virtual and face-to-face workshops happening under El Club de Los Tiburones México, which we will share in our next blog. Special thanks to our intern Ximena Díaz for her valuable help in this campaign.