Last Chance to Help Save Mexico's Vaquita Porpoise
Richard Conniff - TakePart
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November 28, 2014

Vaquita - Saving the Desert Porpoise: Vaquita porpoise in Mexico is a marine mammal on the brink of extinction. (Chris Johnson)

The vaquita, a small porpoise found only in the Gulf of California, is the world’s most endangered marine mammal. Fewer than 100 exist in the wild. Without drastic and immediate action, this species will almost certainly go the way of the Chinese river dolphin, or baiji - declared extinct after a 2006 survey of the Yangtze River turned up zero dolphins. It was the only cetacean humans are known to have snuffed out: a global moment of infamy, not just for China, but for us all. In a final effort not to share that shame, Mexico is expected to announce this week a last desperate effort to save the vaquita.

...Scientists have been tracking the vaquita’s declining numbers since 1990, and timely action back then could have made a difference. In 1991, the International Whaling Commission recommended a series of protective measures, including a ban on totoaba fishing, education of fishers, and development of alternative fishing methods.

“If those recommendations had been followed, there is little doubt that the vaquita’s situation would now have been largely resolved,” a report from Mexico-based International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita concluded.

...It may not seem like there’s much the rest of us can do for the vaquita, other than pray. But the organization Viva Vaquita urges you to sign its petition on Writing to the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Mexican president, and even to the United Nations might also help. The likely extinction of the vaquita is also one more reason to stop buying shrimp, or other fish caught with gillnets.

Read the whole story at TakePart

GRAPHIC: Maggie Smith, NG Staff. SOURCES: International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita; IUCN; UNEP-WCMC

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