Many people envision Baja California as a land of glittering bars, cruise ship crowds, and esplanades full of souvenirs of Ensenada or Cabo San Lucas. In reality, Baja California is a vast, mostly uninhabited expanse of remote undeveloped lands with unique flora, untouched wildlife, and prehistoric cultural treasures.
Within just a long day’s drive of the southern California megalopolis and it’s uber-developed coast and crowded beaches one can find hundreds of miles of remote, pristine coastlines and desert landscapes.
Research biologist Daniel Cartamil has traveled the Pacific coast of Baja California investigating the health of shark populations for over a decade. In the course of his travels, he has created a photographic chronicle of this paradise of remote landscapes and shares this visual journey on Baja’s Wild Side.
On the surface, it might seem like an ocean without sharks would be a more enjoyable place. But, these predators play a very important role in the ocean ecosystem and they need our protection just like many other ocean dwelling creatures.
Sharks have been at the top of the food chain for hundreds of millions of years, but today their populations are in danger because of human activities, such as overfishing and finning (this is when people catch sharks, remove the fins, and dump the carcass overboard).
Andrew P. Nosal, Ph. D, Birch Aquarium’s new DeLaCour Postdoctoral Fellow for Ecology and Conservation, shares his shark expertise and explains that all sharks are not the evil villains seen in movies, but are essential in maintaining a balanced ocean.
Leopard sharks are a special species of shark found only along the West coast of North America, their territory spanning from Washington to Baja California. A distinctive characteristic of these creatures is their mild temperament. Unlike most sharks, which will bite anything that might be food, leopard sharks are timid and have such small mouths that they pose essentially no danger to humans. In fact, a leopard shark bite on a human has never been recorded by the International Shark Attack File.
Every Summer La Jolla Shores is the gathering site of hundreds of leopard sharks. A common misconception of this behavior is that these sharks convene here to mate or give birth, but in fact scientists are not quite certain what they do at this annual conference.