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A Desperate Bid to Save Mexico's Vanishing Vaquitas

Elisabeth Malkin - The New York Times
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February 28, 2017



Collateral Damage: How illegal trade in totoaba swim bladders is driving the vaquita to extinction (Environmental Investigation Agency)

Known mostly by its Spanish name, the snub-nosed vaquita is the world’s smallest cetacean, a miniature porpoise with a cartoonlike features and dark smudges around its eyes. The species lives only in the fertile waters of the gulf’s northern corner.

The size of its population has always been precarious, but now voracious demand in China for a fish that shares the vaquita’s only habitat has pushed the tiny porpoise to the brink of extinction.

No more than 30 vaquitas are left, according to a November estimate based on monitoring of their echolocation clicks. Half of the vaquitas counted a year earlier have disappeared.

This calamity has hardly gone unnoticed. The vaquita has been vanishing in plain sight, to the despair of conservationists who have been advising the Mexican government on how to save it. All of the resources brought to bear, including the protection of the Mexican Navy, have proved to be no match against the illegal wildlife trade.

...With so few vaquitas left, experts advising the Mexican government have proposed capturing several specimens and holding them in a sea pen as a way of conserving the species until the threat to its habitat is removed. It’s a last-ditch measure that conservationists had hoped they would never have to resort to.

Click here to see how you can help save the Vaquita

Read the rest at The New York Times

  Check out Deep Blue Conservancy

  Check out The Western Ecological Society

  Check out Ecological Group of Costa Verde

  Check out Association for Environmental Unity in Mexico


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