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Vaquita

The vaquita porpoise is the rarest and most-endangered species of marine mammal in the world. It is Critically Endangered with only 245 remaining in 2008 (probably fewer now!). It is smallest, of only seven species of true porpoises, and is the only one that lives in warm waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean. It is found in a tiny area in the extreme northern Gulf of California, in Baja California, Mexico.

Why should we be worried?
In the last few decades, the small population has plummeted by about 8% per year, as gillnets set for fish and shrimp kill more porpoises than are born annually. These “invisible” gillnets trap the vaquitas and they drown. If rapid progress is not made, the vaquita may be extinct in a few short years. The very perilous situation of the vaquita has been recognized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), International Whaling Commission, Mexican Government, and United States Government.

Can they be Saved?
Yes! Unlike some endangered species that have no place left to live in the wild, the vaquita’s home in the Gulf of California is clean and healthy. The only real problem is the gillnets that entangle and kill vaquitas. If these can be moved out of the small area where vaquitas occur, the species will likely recover. We can save the vaquita!! Learn how you can help the vaquita!

Vaquita Facts:

  • The vaquita has only been known to us since 1958.
  • Vaquita means “little cow” in Spanish.
  • At about 5 feet (1.5 m) long, it’s the smallest species of cetacean.
  • The vaquita lives only about a 4 hour drive from San Diego.
  • Unlike other porpoises, vaquitas give birth only every other year.
  • Newborns are born in the spring (March/April).
  • They live to be about 20-21 years old.
  • Vaquitas have never been held in aquaria.
  • It is the rarest and most-endangered species of marine mammal in the world.
  • Its fate is tied to that of the upper Gulf of California ecosystem.
  • The vaquita could go extinct in two years if we do not act NOW.

What you can do…

  • Tell all your friends and family about the vaquita.
  • Support conservation measures and vote for politicians with a good environmental record.
  • Support the Mexican economy by traveling to Mexico.
  • Do not buy shrimp or fish caught with gillnets.
  • Write your elected officials and tell them to help the vaquita.
  • Write letters of support to Mexico’s Ministry of Environment, and tell them to save the vaquita. Felipe.Calderon@presidencia.gob.mx
  • Send vaquita drawings to the United Nations, asking them to support vaquita conservation efforts by Mexico. ExecutiveOffice@unep.org
  • Send a message to the Mexican government to show your support for the vaquita! Below are the most relevant agencies and links to their online suggestion boxes:
  • Donate to the Vaquita Recovery Fund!

Shirlene Reeves assisted us with purchasing
our San Felipe property. She made it simple, clear and easy. We’re so happy. – Ed & Julie D.

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