ONLY IN BAJA

bluepalm
A beautiful blue palm near Catavi&ntildea, a Baja endemic
Photo by Walt Peterson

 
 
 

By now you are probably thinking: "So what's new? Except for the friendly whales, I have encountered all these animals and plants in the southwestern US, and in mainland Mexico. What's so special about Baja?" The answer is a great deal-look closer! There are striking plants adapted to extreme dryness that are endemic (found only in one area) to Baja, such as copalqu&iacuten, card&oacuten, and "boojum," which are found only in Baja and small areas on the mainland, and torote, a "tree" virtually identical in appearance to copalqu&iacuten found only in Baja, mainland Mexico, and small areas in the southwestern US.

As the peninsula split away from the mainland in the manner described above, the Cortez became wider and longer, and the animals and plants living on the peninsula became isolated; to visit the mainland with breeding in mind, for instance, a bird had to fly over a lot of water or make a long detour. As a result of this isolation, a number of bird species evolved in ways different from their mainland counterparts. There are now four endemic bird species and subspecies to be found in Baja, three of which are so numerous that visitors should have little problem sighting them. The Cortez even has its own endemic marine mammal, the Gulf of California (an alternate name for the Cortez) harbor porpoise. Found only in the northern Cortez, it is one of the rarest animals on earth.
 

A SHORT VISIT TO ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING PLACES ON EARTH
by:Walt Peterson ©

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