Guatemala's Pacific cetaceans: : Fifty years of history

Andrea Cabrera Arreola, Jenniffer S. Ortíz Wolford, Mildred Fabiola Corona Figueroa, Victor M. Gudiel Corona

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Cetaceans have been studied in Guatemala since 1960s, but only a few scientific works based on the collected cetacean data were published. We reviewed literatures about cetaceans in Guatemala for the past fifty years to gain the biological knowledge for conservation and management plans. A total of 1,014 sighting records (1979- 2011), 62 tuna fishery by-catch events (1961-1985) and 16 stranding records (1975, 2007-2012) were obtained and analyzed with bathymetric maps and plot against maps with different anthropogenic pressures in the area. Nineteen species belonging to five different families of cetaceans, such as Balaenopteridae, Delphinidae, Ziphiidae, Kogiidae, and Physeteridae, were identified. Data sampling areas have been changed during 1961-2012. We identified several species-specific-spatial-distribution patterns. Species occurrence was higher in areas with complex topography. Although, all by-catch events were recorded offshore, species with coastal distribution occurred in areas with higher anthropogenic risk. Stranding events were reported for eight species, and occurred mainly in the department of Escuintla from 2007. Due to the great diversity in spatial-distribution patterns of cetacean in Guatemala, behavior and habitat use of cetaceans in the areas, combined with different anthropogenic risks, an integrative approach should be considered when conservation and management plans are implemented in Guatemala.
Translated title of the contributionGuatemala's Pacific cetaceans: : Fifty years of history
Original languageSpanish
Pages (from-to)51-63
Number of pages13
JournalCiencia, Tecnología y Salud
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24-Nov-2014


  • whales,
  • dolphins
  • pacific
  • sightings
  • presurres
  • protection

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