New Whale Shark Biosphere Reserve in Cancun Brings One of the Ocean’s Most Unique Creatures Up Close and Personal

Cancun, June 30th, 2009 – Cancun is more than just a place to see various marine life, it is home to one of the 171 protected biospheres reserves in Mexico. The recently named Reserva de la Biosfera Tiburón Ballena (Whale Shark Biosphere Reserve) is located in front of the north coast region of Quintana Roo, with a surface area of 145,988 acres. The marine surface of this Protected Area guarantees the protection of the region which contains waters rich with organic material. This concentration of nutrients allow for the exceptional presence of species such as mussels, crustaceans, birds and marine mammals, and above all, schools of fish of commercial and sport importance, as well as large groups of whale sharks, making it the perfect environment for spotting these gentle sea giants in their own environment.
 
Every year, from May to September, you can get up close and personal with the biggest fish of the world, by visiting Cancun, It is during these months that the gentle giants of the ocean prefer the nutrient- filled waters of the northern areas of Holbox, Isla Contoy and Cabo Catoche, where they feed and mate.  The whale shark is unique in that its mouth is located in front of its head, unlike other shark species.  This positioning allows the whale shark to feed, normally just below the surface, by simply opening its mouth and scooping up plankton, literally vacuuming food from the water. 

Locally known as Dominos, whale sharks are dark brown or grey with white or yellow spots, and a white or yellow underbelly. Their size is quite impressive; measuring between 15 to 50 feet (5 -16 m) in length and weighing as much as 10 tons, make swimming alongside these species a thrilling experience. Considered the largest fish in the world, these animals are completely harmless and peaceful. Those who wish to experience swimming with the whale sharks are provided with guidance from industry experts.
 
Protecting the whale shark has been a priority for government agencies throughout the last few years, making certain the magnificent animals are not harmed and ensuring that they continue to migrate to the area.  Local guides have been provided with additional training in developing and executing tours that are safe for the whale sharks and tourists alike.  In addition, strict rules have been implemented against scuba equipment being used to view the species.
Cancun and Puerto Morelos is home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world, making a hands-on encounter with the marine world more attainable. The diverse marine life, crystal clear turquoise waters and stunning underwater coral reefs make Cancun the ideal destination for scuba diving and snorkeling. Whale sharks, dolphins, manatees, manta rays, stingrays and sea turtles are just a few of the marine species you can spot underwater accompanied by marine staff and experts, such as Biologist Rafael de la Parra, Director of the Project Domino Research sponsored by the Mexican Government, or Dr. Roberto Sanchez from Dolphin Discovery in Cancun.
 
Swimming with dolphins and manatees while in Cancun is an adventure not to be missed. Children as young as 12months can enjoy interacting with these incredibly intelligent mammals. Cancun and Puerto Morelos, is the perfect destination for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts, marine life lovers and curious children who are ready to experience the wonders of the underwater world. There is no better place than Cancun to realize your dreams of swimming alongside marine mammals and other sea creatures.
 
About Cancun 
Cancun is located in the northern part of the southeastern Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The island of Cancun is in the shape of a “7” and is bordered to the north by the Bahia de Mujeres; to the east by the Caribbean Sea; and to the west by the Nichupte Lagoon. Cancun is Mexico’s largest tourist destination and boasts 146 hotels with a total of 28,808 rooms.
Opportunities for new experiences abound in Cancun, which offers visitors an ideal setting for interacting with nature and discovering Mayan culture.
 
Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau www.cancun.travel

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