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The emphasis of the Cabrillo Whalewatch Program is to help educate and enlighten the public about the history and biology of the gray whale, as well as other local marine mammals and birds. Through education, the public becomes aware of the fragility of the marine ecosystem and the current threats to the marine mammal populations.
Cabrillo Whalewatch began in 1972 as an experimental program under the direction of then Cabrillo Marine Museum Director, John M. Olguin. That year about 2,000 children and adults were the first to have the exciting and educational experience of seeing Pacific gray whales. By the next year, over 30,000 people had participated in whale-watching excursions. Since its beginnings in 1972, more than one million children and adults have gone whale-watching with the Cabrillo Whalewatch program.