The village of Barra de Potosí is off the beaten path, along Mexico’s southwest coast, but humpback whales travel thousands of miles to breed in this patch of the Pacific. A decade ago, Katherina Audley, founder of the non-profit Whales of Guerrero, began working with local fisherman to develop a conservation-focused eco-tourism program. "'When the whales win, everyone wins," she said. Former fishing boats have been repurposed into vessels to watch the whales, concentrating on their tails or flukes. Every whale's tail is unique but it wasn’t until Ted Cheeseman and Ken Southerland asked Silicon Valley companies to help develop an algorithm to recognize them that there was an easy way to see that. Since launching in 2015, the Happy Whale website has received more than 100,000 photo submissions. "If you know that whale by name, you're going to care more about that whale,” Cheeseman said. “And if you care more about that whale, you care more about the oceans."

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