Meet our Whales

Every humpback whale tail, or fluke, as as unique as a human fingerprint.
The distinct coloration, shape, and scarring pattern of humpback whale flukes’ undersides allow us to distinguish individual whales using only pictures of their flukes. Fluke identification and matching is the most non-invasive, accessible and affordable way to conduct research on humpback whales and is the bedrock technique of humpback whale research worldwide.
In 2014, the Whales of Guerrero started a photo-identification project in Barra de Potosí, near Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa, where not a single scientific study of whales had previously been conducted. Today our catalogue has more than 600 individual whales, and we share our pictures with researchers and whale watch companies along the entire west coast of North America to improve the overall knowledge of Pacific humpback whales.
These are the flukes we got shots of between 2014-2016
Every time we take a picture of a whale tail, we give it an ID number. Some whales have been adopted and named by project supporters, so those names go in the catalog too, and the adopters find out when their whales have been resighted. For example, one of our whales is known by the ID WGRP_003 and the name Fran, because it is the 3rd whale we successfully photographed and was later adopted and named by Ferd Bergholz in memory of his late wife, Fran.
You can support our research by adopting a whale! Find out more about whale adoptions here.
Each of our whale tails becomes a puzzle piece in the big jigsaw puzzle of 21,000+humpback whales that live in the northeastern Pacific Ocean. When we see a whale in anew place, we understand more about how it is surviving in this noisy ocean with limited food resources, and when we spot it again down here, breeding or with a calf, we always celebrate!

Through our research, we have already begun to learn some interesting information out about where the humpback whales of Guerrero go before, during, and after their winter breeding season here. For example, some of the whales we have resighted are:

    • WGRP_290 aka aka Lexus was spotted for the first time in Guerrero on February 27, 2017. As it turned out, scientists and whale watchers along the Pacific Coast of Mexico and the US West Coast have identified this whale over 140 times!  We have seen Lexus twice since that first sighting – in 2019 and 2020. Our friends in Monterey Bay, California spot Lexus frequently as she feeds to gain weight for her big journey down to us. Recent reports tell us that she has been looking nice and well fed last summer. We hope to see Lexus down in Guerrero this winter!
    • Motitas aka CRC 12256 aka WGRP_027 was spotted on board a Cabo Trek expedition out of Cabo San Lucas in June 2016. We first saw Motitas here on January 14, 2015. This whale was named and adopted by the Casita Ecovegana in Zihuatanejo. Motitas is quite the wanderer, having been seen in Northern and Southern California since 2007. She has had two calves since we first spotted her and been seen feeding and with her calves again on the west coast of Mexico and the west coast of the US.
    • CRC 16179 aka WGRP 174 was spotted by our team on February 16, 2016, an d on February 22, 2016 our friends at Orca de Sayulita spotted this whale on a whale watch! That’s nearly 400 miles of swimming in 4 days!!!

Want to follow our whales as they pop up in other places? Check out Happy whale! Not only can you follow our whales, you can also upload your own pictures to see if they match with any of ours.

Here is where you can find all of our whale tails so far: