Aerial view of Isla Espíritu Santo (right) and Isla Partida (left)
|Location||Gulf of California|
|Adjacent bodies of water||Pacific Ocean|
|Area||80.763 km2 (31.183 sq mi)|
|State||Baja California Sur|
Isla Espíritu Santo is an island in the Gulf of California, off the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. It is separated from Isla Partida by a narrow canal.
It has a land area of 80.763 square kilometres (31.183 sq mi), the 12th-largest island in Mexico. Isla Partida's land area is 15.495 square kilometres (5.983 sq mi). They are part of La Paz Municipality and are both a short boat trip from La Paz on the Baja California Peninsula.
There was human presence of the island already about 9,000 years ago.
The area is protected as part of the Área de Protección de Flora y Fauna - Islas del Golfo de California (APFF-IGC),and is an important eco-tourism destination. It was declared part of a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1995. Espíritu Santo is the only known habitat of the black jackrabbit. The islands are both uninhabited. Ensenada Grande beach, on Isla Partida, was voted the most beautiful beach in Mexico by The Travel Magazine and one of the top 12 beaches in the world. Sea kayaking is a popular activity around the island.
The surrounding reefs are home to parrotfish, angelfish,trumpetfish, Moorish idols, and rainbow wrasse, while many other species pass nearby including sharks, rays, turtles, dolphins, and even whales. Birds include brown pelicans, great blue herons, snowy egrets, turkey vultures, and hummingbirds. A large sea lion colony resides on Los Islotes, off the north tip of the islands; snorkeling with the females and young is a highlight of many tours.
Conservation-minded eco-adventurers were not the only ones attracted to the island, and by the 1990s the pressure on Isla Espiritu Santo was intense: a real estate developer wanted to create a resort casino on the island. Luckily Tim Means (environmentalist), founder of Baja Expeditions, who since 1974 had been a leading conservationist based in La Paz, formed a coalition of activists who were able to purchase part of the island from the ejido that was selling it to the casino resort developer. One-third of the funds came from Mexican funders, another third from American funders via the Nature Conservancy, and the rest through an anonymous gift to the World Wildlife Fund. Their subsequent donation of Isla Espiritu Santo to the nation is commemorated by a famous sculpture of a dove on the boardwalk in La Paz.
Early Holocene pearl oyster circular fishhooks, dating to 8750–8500 cal BP, have been discovered on Espíritu Santo Island. They've been found in Covacha Babisuri rock shelter on the island. This is one of the earliest known examples of shell fishhooks in the world.
"The pearl oyster fishhooks and some of the associated tools from Espíritu Santo Island, in the southern Gulf of California in Mexico, are similar to those found in Australia, along the Arabian Sea (Roth 1904, Allen 1996, Beech 2003, Méry et al. 2008), and in Valdivia (Meggers et al. 1965:147)."
Similar fishhooks have also been reported from Cedros Island, also in Baja California.
The Baja California Peninsula is a peninsula in Northwestern Mexico. It separates the Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of California. The peninsula extends 1,247 km from Mexicali, Baja California in the north to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur in the south. It ranges from 40 km at its narrowest to 320 km at its widest point and has approximately 3,000 km of coastline and approximately 65 islands. The total area of the Baja California Peninsula is 143,390 km2 (55,360 sq mi), roughly the same area as the country of Nepal.
The Gulf of California is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland. It is bordered by the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, and Sinaloa with a coastline of approximately 4,000 km (2,500 mi). Rivers which flow into the Gulf of California include the Colorado, Fuerte, Mayo, Sinaloa, Sonora, and the Yaqui. The gulf's surface area is about 160,000 km2 (62,000 sq mi). Depths range from fording at the estuary near Yuma, Arizona, to in excess of 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) in the deepest parts.
Baja California Sur, officially the Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California Sur, is the second-smallest Mexican state by population and the 31st admitted state of the 32 states which make up the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico.
La Paz is the capital city of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur and an important regional commercial center. The city had a 2015 census population of 244,219 inhabitants, making it the most populous city in the state. Its metropolitan population is somewhat larger because of the surrounding towns, such as El Centenario, Chametla and San Pedro. It is in La Paz Municipality, which is the fourth-largest municipality in Mexico in geographical size and reported a population of 290,286 inhabitants on a land area of 20,275 km2 (7,828 sq mi).
The Revillagigedo Islands or Revillagigedo Archipelago are a group of four volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean, known for their unique ecosystem. They lie approximately 390 kilometres (240 mi) southwest of Cabo San Lucas, the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, and 720 to 970 kilometres west of Manzanillo. They are located around. Technically part of the Mexican state of Colima, the islands are under Mexican federal jurisdiction.
The Pericú were the aboriginal inhabitants of the Cape Region, the southernmost portion of Baja California Sur, Mexico. They have been linguistically and culturally extinct since the late 18th century.
The Sierra de la Laguna is a mountain range at the southern end of the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico, and is the southernmost range of the Peninsular Ranges System.
Sigismundo Taraval (1700–1763) was a pioneering Jesuit missionary in Baja California who wrote important historical accounts of the peninsula.
Mexican Flora and Fauna Protection Areas comprise 29 protected natural areas of Mexico administrated by the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas, an agency of the federal government.
Isla Partida is separated from Isla Espíritu Santo by a shallow, narrow channel. These two islands, in the Gulf of California, are protected by UNESCO as biospheres. They are located a short boat ride from La Paz, which lies on the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico. It has a land area of 15.495 km (9.628 mi) and is part of the Municipality of La Paz in Baja California Sur.
Isla Cerralvo, as is commonly named, whose official name is Isla Jacques Cousteau, is an island located off the Cerralvo Canal coast near La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
The black jackrabbit is a species of mammal in the family Leporidae. Endemic to Mexico, its only known location is Espiritu Santo Island in the Gulf of California. The IUCN has listed this species as a "vulnerable species" because of its restricted range. This taxon is regarded by some authorities as being a subspecies of the black-tailed jackrabbit, found on the mainland of Mexico.
Tecolote Beach is an isolated beach community located in the municipality of La Paz in the state of Baja California Sur, it is 25 km from the city of La Paz, past Puerto Balandra, on State Highway 11.
Under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme, there are 125 biosphere reserves recognized as part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves in Latin America and the Caribbean. These are distributed across 21 countries in the region.
The sea urchins of the Gulf of California live between the coasts of the Baja California Peninsula to the west and mainland state of Sonora, Mexico to the east. The northern boundary is the lateral band of land with the remains of the Colorado River Delta, and the southern is the Pacific Ocean.
Alto Golfo de California Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve located in the state of Sonora in extreme northwestern Mexico. The 1,652,110 hectares (6,378.8 sq mi) reserve comprises the El Pinacate y Gran Desierto reserve and the Bahia Adair on the Gulf of California border. Geological volcanic formations with craters, dunes, oasis and beaches, and the diversity of plant associations determine its special landscape. The reserve was established in 1993 by the President of Mexico as Reserva de la Biosfera del Alto Golfo de California y Delta del Río Colorado and extended in 1995.
Bahía de Loreto National Park is a national park on the east coast of the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico, about 203 kilometres (126 mi) north of the city of La Paz in the state of Baja California Sur. The park protects 2,065.81 square kilometres (797.61 sq mi) of relatively pristine marine ecosystem in the central Sea of Cortez, including five large uninhabited islands and many smaller islets in Loreto Bay. It is known for its great variety of coastal environments, such as sandy beaches, sea cliffs, submarine canyons, and marine terraces, and is home to an exceptionally high biological diversity, especially of marine mammals.
Harumi Fujita is a Japanese researcher of Mexican archaeology, who has specialized in pre-classical period of the northern states of Baja California and Baja California Sur. Her research has shown that fishing cultures had arisen in the area at the end of the Pleistocene period, indicating an occupation from at least 11,000 years ago. In a cave shelf known as the Babisuri Shelter, radiocarbon dating indicated the area may have been occupied 40,000 years ago.
Timothy "Timoteo" Irwin Means Heinemann was an American Mexican ecotourism pioneer and environmentalist, who advocated for the protection and preservation of the Baja California peninsula and its wildlife. He was a catalyst for the Federal government of Mexico's designation of Isla Espíritu Santo as an area of ecological significance and national protected area in 1994, declared subsequently part of a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In 2007, Mexico named the Isla Espíritu Santo Archipelago a national park.
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