Florencia Vilches is a researcher at the Instituto de Conservación de Ballenas (ICB) from Argentina, which promotes the protection of whales through research and education. She started as a volunteer for ICB in 2008 and later coordinated its Right Whale Adoption Program. At present, she participates in the longest continuous study in the world based on following the lives of known individual whales through photo-identification. Also, she collaborates in the monitoring of the frequency of Kelp Gull harassment on southern right whales at Península Valdés, and conducts outreach activities with whale watching tourists and schoolchildren with the aim of raising environmental awareness.

Vilches currently directs a project that seeks to integrate boat-based southern right whale photographs taken by whale watch operators with the 48-year aerial survey catalog curated by ICB, to improve the models that describe this whale population’s dynamics.


Southern Right Whales, Conservation Leadership, Social Media, Public Speaking, Conservation in Developing Countries, Advocacy, Education

MCAF Fellow Florencia Vilches.
MCAF Fellow Florencia Vilches studies the health of Patagonian right whales using photo identification of individual whales.
  1. Select Publications

    Florencia Ornela Vilches, M. A. Bobinac, A. C. Labudía, M. N. Paso Viola, J. E. Marcovecchio, H. L. Cappozzo & M. V. Panebianco (2019) Metals concentration and bioaccumulation in the marine-coastal trophic web from Buenos Aires province southern coast, Argentina, Chemistry and Ecology, 35:6, 501-523, DOI: 10.1080/02757540.2019.1604693

    Vilches, F.O., Rowntree, V.J., Sironi, M., Muñoz Moreda, C. Incorporating whale-watch photographs into a 47-year aerial photo- identification catalog for a better assessment of the population dynamics of southern right whales off Argentina. (2018). Unpublished paper SC/67B/WW/04 presented to the IWC Scientific Committee, Slovenia.

    Sironi, M., Alzugaray, L., Saez, A., Vilches, F., Fernandez Ajo, A. and Faiferman, P. The use of underwater viewing deck of the semi-submersible whalewatching vessel Yellow Submarine at Peninsula Valdes, Argentina as a platform of opportunity for scientific research with the southern right whale, Eubalaena australis (2018) Latin American Journal of Aquatic Mammals 13(1-2): 2-8.

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