Last 30 Vaquitas to Be Removed from Wild in Mexico
Jen Krausz - Newsmax
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May 25, 2017

The extinction of the vaquita, small porpoises found only in the Gulf of California off the coast of Mexico, may be imminent if action is not taken to save the small remaining number from being killed or dying off.

The vaquita population was cut in half from about 60 to about 30 from 2015 to 2016, according to NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center, PBS reported. The porpoises seem to be getting caught in gill nets that are being used to fish for totoaba, another endangered fish, the bladder of which has become very valuable.

The NOAA, WWF, and The International Committee for Vaquita Recovery have decided to try to remove the remaining vaquita from the wild and help them to breed and increase their numbers. Since no one has ever handled a vaquita before, scientists are unsure how the porpoise will react and whether they will do well in captivity. Some types of porpoises do very well in captivity, while others don’t.

Vaquita like to swim in shallower water close to shore, although they avoid boats when they approach, according to the World Wildlife Fund. They are gray with long white markings and have a dark ring around their eyes.

Mexico made gill nets illegal in 2015, but NOAA patrols have still found hundreds of gill nets since the ban took effect. The current gill net ban is set to expire May 31.

Read the rest at Newsmax

Related: Groups Seek to Protect Imperiled Vaquita Porpoises Through U.S. Ban on Imports of Mexican Seafood Caught with Dangerous Nets (Center for Biological Diversity)

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