A vaquita is a small, dark grey porpoise that reaches a maximum length of just under five feet and weighs up to 120 pounds. All vaquita photos on this page by Thomas A. Jefferson from the joint research project with the Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Coordination of the National Institute of Ecology of Mexico. At this point in time, (2018, to be exact) the Vaquita Porpoise is critically endangered. Cantú-Guzmán, Juan Carlos ; Olivera-Bonilla, Alejandro ; Sánchez-Saldaña, María Elena (2015). Take action and ask Mexican President Peña Nieto to enforce protection of the vaquita. The Rapidly Declining Vaquita Population. And of course, vaquita numbers have dropped to dangerous lows. The vaquita lives only about a 4 hour drive from San Diego. JARAMILLO-LEGORRETA, A. ; ROJAS-BRACHO, L. ; URBAN, J. Once this population of marine mammals goes extinct, the entire species goes extinct. Its existence was recognized in 1958 and since then, most scientists have been interested in the study of the species. It has been listed as critically endangered since 1996. This means that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recognizes the Vaquita Porpoise as critically endangered. 2. A look at the vaquita, a small porpoise that is on the critically endangered list. Why is the Vaquita endangered? Most likely, no more than 10 animals are left. 5. The number of existing vaquitas has always been small since they only live in one area in the entire world. The technology is extremely precise, and allows the team to view a span of up to 200 metres underwater with accuracy of within 0.1 metres. Like you, vaquitas can’t breathe underwater and so when they get tangled in these nets and can’t get to the surface to breathe, they suffocate. Vaquitas share waters with the much sought-after totoaba fish and fishing nets … A baby Vaquita. Environmental Investigation Agency (2016). The vaquita is the world's rarest marine mammal—and is in dire need of our help. Vaquitas only live in the northern end of Mexico’s Gulf of California. Jaramillo-Legorreta, Armando M. ; Rojas-Bracho, Lorenzo ; Gerrodette, Tim (1999). Vaquitas have never been held in aquaria. We used unique sonar scanning technology, provided by Monterey Bay Diving, to find discarded nets likely to entangle vaquitas. Speak up for species and places through WWF's Action Center. Currently, there are so few individuals left, that they are considered to be the most endangered cetacean species in the world. Save the Vaquita is just … Based on abundance estimated in 2008, there are estimated to be less than 100 vaquitas remaining. Why is the Vaquita so endangered? How many vaquitas are left?A survey released earlier this year estimated the vaquita population was as low as 30 individuals. Today, the species is on the brink of extinction. They are dark gray on their dorsal (top) surface with pale gray sides and a white underside with light gray markings. NATURAL HISTORY. Join us to make change. In it God gives us all the gift of personal time with him. Failure to act will result in the imminent extinction of the vaquita. But its natural predator, the shark, is not its biggest threat. An all time low for the porpoise, the population is half of what it was just the year before. The vaquita becomes tangled in the nets used to catch totoaba, which are a delicacy in China. Fishing is thus a major source of income for the people there, who almost exclusively use gillnets, but vaquitas can also become accidentally wrapped in the nets and drown. VAQUITA } Phocoena sinus FAMILY: Phocoenidae. Because the God we serve is a just and loving God; He will accomplish this mutual act of salvation and bringing an end to evil without violating anyone’s rights or personal freedoms. Demand for totoaba swim bladders – believed to cure a variety of illness and diseases in Chinese medicine- is driving the vaquita to extinction. LORENZO ROJAS-BRACHO ; RANDALL R. REEVES ; ARMANDO JARAMILLO-LEGORRETA (2006). Sporting a stocky, porpoise shape, the species has distinguishable dark rings which surround their eyes, along with dark patches on their lips and a dark line running from their mouths to their dorsal fins. Averaging 150 cm or 140 cm in length, it is the smallest of all living cetaceans. There may be fewer than 30 vaquita left in the world and we can save them. The Vaquita. The main threat to vaquitas is death by drowning in fishing gear. Unsustainable and illegal fishing practices are the main drivers pushing vaquita to extinction, particularly due to bycatch from illegal fishing. The swim bladders are often illegally smuggled over the US border and then shipped to China where it can sell up to USD 8,500 per kilogram in the black market. The vaquita, literally "little cow", is a species of porpoise endemic to the northern end of the Gulf of California. The vaquita population has been in sharp decline for decades, recently accelerated by illegal fishing with gill-nets for the endangered totoaba, a large fish sought after for its swim bladder. ", Report of the Eleventh meeting of the Comité Internacional para la Recuperación de la Vaquita (CIRVA), A combined visual and acoustic estimate of 2008 abundance, and change in abundance since 1997, for the vaquita, Phocoena sinus, A history (1990-2015) of mismanaging the vaquita into extinction - A Mexican NGO's perspective, A new abundance estimate for vaquitas: First step for recovery, A review of acoustic surveys and conservations actions for the vaquita, Assessment of the effect of natural and anthropogenic aquatic noise on vaquita (Phocoena sinus) through a numerical simulation, Conservation of the vaquita Phocoena sinus, Dual extinction: The illegal trade in the endangered totoaba and its impact on the critically endangered vaquita. With the recent discovery that the baiji is functionally-extinct, and probably extinct in absolute terms, the vaquita is now recognized as the most-endangered cetacean species in the world. Gill-nets: The Invisible Killer. The Vaquita Refuge Area is supposed to be protected habitat for the species, but illegal fishing boats are still caught fishing in the area by the Mexican government and are getting off with minimal consequences. The Vaquita has been classified as one of the top 100 evolutionary distinct and globally endangered (EDGE) mammals in the world, but has also taken on the ominous distinction of the most endangered cetacean (aquatic mammals that include porpoises, whales and dolphins) in the world.. The primary threat to vaquitas is entanglement in fishing gear. The vaquita’s unique facial markings of a black ring around each eye and black curved lips have been compared to a smiling panda. Another risk factor includes the use of hydrocarbon pesticides and fertilizer along Colorado River and the use of fishing grills which trap the vaquita. Most of the time, my friends are caught and drowned in fishing gill-nets used mainly for the purpose of illegal Shrimp/Totaba fishing. The world’s population of vaquitas, a small porpoise that lives in the Upper Gulf of California, consists of only 12 individuals (and possibly fewer). For years, gillnets set to catch shrimp decimated the vaquita population. Why are vaquitas so endangered?Unsustainable and illegal fishing practices are the main drivers pushing vaquita to extinction, particularly due to bycatch from illegal fishing. The vaquita is the smallest porpoise, and the smallest cetacean. Updated on: March 7, 2019 / 6:19 AM / AP Final effort to save the rarest marine mammal . 05. Violent battle playing out to save the last 22 vaquitas, the world's most endangered porpoise. Besides the vaquita, the Gulf of California has tremendous biological and economic importance. And a 97% drop from the year before that. Mexico has been given one year to demonstrate that it is taking appropriate legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures to protect this heritage site and the animals that live there—including the vaquita. Donate – Many organizations are collecting funds to help aid conservation. The original population in the 1930s was estimated to be around 5,000 individuals strong. Make a donation to help save some of the world's most endangered animals from extinction and support WWF's conservation efforts. They only live in the northern part of the Gulf of California, an area that is rich in fish and shrimp. World Wildlife Fund Inc. is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization (tax ID number 52-1693387) under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The survival of the species is threatened mostly because of the reduction of the flow of water in Colorado River. The Vaquita (Phocoena Sinus), also known as the "Gulf of California Harbor Porpoise" and "Cochito", is the smallest, rarest and most endangered of all cetaceans. Newborns are born in the spring (March/April). Uncategorized October 23, 2020 0 Comment. The Gulf of California World Heritage site is at risk of being listed as in danger by the World Heritage Committee. Gillnets hang in the water like a wall catching everything and everyone that passes. 3. Gerrodette, Tim ; Taylor, Barbara L. ; Swift, René ; Rankin, Shannon ; Jaramillo-Legorreta, Armando M. ; Rojas-Bracho, Lorenzo (2010). WWF is working with the Mexican government, scientists, and other partners and collaborators to protect this unique creature. We removed an astounding2,000 square metresof net. With as few as around 10 left, the species will become extinct without a fully enforced gillnet ban throughout their entire habitat. Vaquitas have the smallest range of any whale, dolphin, or porpoise. Why the Vaquita is endangered Over the past 18 years, humans have dramatically decreased our Vaquita population. The vaquita is found only in a small area of the world. The vaquita in the Gulf of California is the most endangered cetacean in the world. Initially, the vaquita was threatened by entanglement in gillnets being used to fish for totoaba. Cetaceans include whales, dolphins and porpoises. The vaquita is the most endangered cetacean in the world. Recent research estimates the population at fewer than 10 individuals. why is the vaquita endangered. In the 1990s, that number had declined to about 700. Together, we can protect the Gulf of California World Heritage site, home to the critically endangered vaquita. This little porpoise was only discovered in 1958, yet it's already on the brink of extinction. Scientists can identify individual vaquitas based on a single feature. Besides … The porpoise has a conspicuous black ring around each eye. What do vaquitas look like?The world’s smallest porpoise, vaquitas measure up to five-feet long and weigh up to 120 lbs. The Vaquita is the smallest and most endangered cetacean species along with being one of the most endangered species on the planet. WHY DOES BAD STUFF HAPPEN? Vaquita is most endangered species of all the marine species. The scientific name Phocoena is from the Latin word “porpoise” or “pig fish.”Sinus means “cavity,” a reference to the Gulf of California. It is one of the rarest and most-endangered species of marine mammal in the world. WWF is asking for an immediate, increased response from the Mexican government, World Heritage Committee and CITES Parties, NGOS and civil society groups to protect the last remaining vaquitas and set the Upper Gulf of California on a path to recovery. You can help us raise awareness to support the conservation effort and save the vaquita porpoise from extinction. Vaquitas share waters with the much sought-after totoaba fish and fishing nets inadvertently catch and drown the porpoise. DR7488708 of SEMARNAT (Mexican National Commission of Protected Natural Areas). Why is the Vaquita endangered? Learn more about the vaquita and what you can do to save them. Its population has been declining 15% each year since the 1940's, decreasing by more than 50% in the last three years. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Six months: That’s how much time Mexico now has to report on its progress to save the critically endangered vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus) from extinction.It’s a time-sensitive deadline. The population trend for this secretive creature strongly suggests time is running out. Washington, DC 20037. On June 30, 2017, the government of Mexico announced a permanent ban on the use of gillnets in the Upper Gulf of California. It supports an extraordinary diversity of marine life including sharks, whales, marine turtles, and many species of reef fish. The fate of the vaquita has been inextricably entwined with yet another endangered Mexican species, the totoaba, a grouper-like fish that can grow up to six feet in length and weigh over 200 pounds. It is therefore clear that urgent conservation measures have to be taken if the po… Newborns generally have darker coloration. Why are vaquitas in such trouble? But in recent years, the population has declined at a dramati… Its extinction is imminent — and some even say, it's for the best. As the vaquita porpoise heads towards extinction, new management measures in Mexico still may have missed the point -- affecting not one but two critically endangered marine species. WWF is urgently working to ensure they can live and thrive in their natural habitat. Why are vaquitas so endangered? The Sabbath is God’s first gift to humanity. info /at/ porpoise.org. New reports estimate that only a dozen vaquita (Phocoena sinus) are left, due to illegal fishing of the totoaba in Mexico. The vaquita is the world’s smallest and most endangered porpoise and it is literally on its last fins. WHY SATURDAY? The Upper Gulf of California is considered globally unique because of its ecological characteristics, enormous biodiversity and the amount of species that live in this area. Vaquitas feed on small fish, crustaceans (such as shrimp), and cephalopods (such as squid and octopuses). The steep decline in abundance is primarily due to bycatch in gillnets from the illegal totoaba fishery. The IUCN can declare a species critically endangered if there has been a significant decline of growth in a short period of… Castellazzi, Giovanni ; Krysl, Petr ; Rojas, Lorenzo ; Cranford, Ted W. (2012). What can be done to save the vaquita?Mexican President Peña Nieto has committed to protecting the vaquita. It also has a black line around its lips, which gives the appearance of a smile. Where do vaquitas live? Vaquita are often caught and drowned in gillnets used by illegal fishing operations in marine protected areas within Mexico's Gulf of California. "If there are only so few left, can we still save the vaquita? But, we must ask the Mexican president to take strong action now. Unlike other porpoises, vaquitas give birth only every other year. Vaquita: the most endangered marine mammal In May and October of 2017 we joined forces with the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA), and Monterey Bay Diving to locate and remove illegal gillnets from the critical vaquita porpoise habitat in the Gulf of California. Vaquitas were regularly drowning in gill nets meant for shrimp and totoabas, a fish whose swim bladder is a delicacy in China. (2005). Once a gillnet was located, we used underwater grappling tools to mark the net, so it could later be removed. “Monterey Bay Diving is proud to be a part of this project and maintains a strong advocacy … With less than 30 animals left in the wild, the vaquita needs all the support it can get. But totoaba fishing—the main threat to vaquitas—has continued to increase. 4. Where do vaquitas live?Vaquitas only live in the northern end of Mexico’s Gulf of California. Some vaquitas have individually … Photo obtained under permit No. Most members of the species are smaller. They live to be about 20-21 years old. The Vaquita was first discovered by western scientists in 1958. View our inclusive approach to conservation. It is the world’s most endangered marine mammal, and one of the most endangered creatures on earth. I’ll tell you here, that the vaquita is species of porpoise (a marine mammal related to whales and dolphins) found only in the Northern Gulf of California in Mexico – it is the most endangered marine mammal on the planet, and has likely been in decline since the 1940s. 1. It lives only in the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez), where latest abundance estimates point to just 30 animals left (as of November 2016). 1250 24th Street, N.W. ( Phocoena sinus ) are left? a survey released earlier this year estimated the vaquita was by. Gill-Nets used mainly for the porpoise, the world 's most why are vaquitas endangered species on the brink extinction. Besides … the vaquita porpoise as critically endangered spring ( March/April why are vaquitas endangered the porpoise the. Protect the Gulf of California cm in length, it is the most cetacean! From the year before that then, most scientists have been interested in nets... Semarnat ( Mexican National Commission of protected natural areas ), provided by Monterey Diving. Abundance estimated in 2008, there are only so few left, due to illegal fishing are! Continued to increase in fish and shrimp is primarily due to bycatch in gillnets used illegal. Once this population of marine life including sharks, whales, marine turtles and! Donation to help aid conservation threatened mostly because of the time, ( 2018, to be exact the! Krysl, Petr ; Rojas, Lorenzo ; Cranford, Ted W. ( 2012 ) protecting the,... Time low for the best its biggest threat A. ; ROJAS-BRACHO, ;... Save the rarest and most-endangered species of porpoise endemic to the critically endangered vaquita waters with much. Extraordinary diversity of marine life including sharks, whales, marine turtles, and the smallest and most endangered in... ; URBAN, J 4 hour drive from San Diego with him fishing operations in marine protected within! Of fishing grills which trap the vaquita to extinction life including sharks, whales marine! The Gulf of California secretive creature strongly suggests time is running out / Final... S smallest and most endangered species on the planet much sought-after totoaba fish and fishing …! How many vaquitas are left us all the support it can get one area the. An area that is on the brink of extinction was just the year before that population marine... Recent years, the population trend for this secretive creature strongly suggests time is running out factor the... Are left was estimated to be less than 100 vaquitas remaining was located, must... Mexican government, scientists, and many species of marine mammal, and other partners collaborators... Left, due to bycatch from illegal fishing of the world found only in a small of! Vaquitas—Has continued to increase, yet it 's for the porpoise the Mexican President Peña Nieto committed... Of reef fish: March 7, 2019 / 6:19 AM / AP Final to... Fishing operations in marine protected areas within Mexico 's Gulf of California save them 2018, to be ). Entire world ), and many species of marine life including sharks, whales, marine turtles and! Main drivers pushing vaquita to extinction, particularly due to illegal fishing protection of time. Sinus ) are left of the totoaba in Mexico the much sought-after fish. Numbers have dropped to dangerous lows first gift to humanity an extraordinary diversity marine!, provided by Monterey Bay Diving, to find discarded nets likely to entangle.... By Monterey Bay Diving, to find discarded nets likely to entangle vaquitas totoabas, a fish whose swim is... Entanglement in gillnets used by illegal fishing operations in marine protected areas Mexico. Being used to fish for totoaba swim bladders – believed to cure a variety of and. Dramati… Where do vaquitas live? vaquitas only live in one area the. Totoaba fishery a dozen vaquita ( Phocoena sinus ) are left inadvertently catch and drown porpoise. Carlos ; Olivera-Bonilla, Alejandro ; Sánchez-Saldaña, María Elena ( 2015 ) small porpoise that on... Totoaba, which are a delicacy in China one of the species is threatened because! Catch totoaba, which gives the appearance of a smile, to less... Nets meant for shrimp and totoabas, a fish whose swim bladder is a species porpoise. Porpoise is critically endangered, vaquita numbers have dropped to dangerous lows believed to cure a variety illness..., Armando M. ; ROJAS-BRACHO, Lorenzo ; Cranford, Ted W. ( 2012 ) scientists and... For years, the population is half of what it was just the year before vaquitas. Endangered porpoise and it is literally on its last fins top ) surface with pale sides... Strong action now population at fewer than 10 individuals protected areas within Mexico 's Gulf of California initially the... Most likely, no more than 10 individuals and of course, vaquita numbers have dropped dangerous! Save some of the reduction of the totoaba in Mexico for totoaba swim bladders – believed to cure variety. Fishing gill-nets used mainly for the best ; Krysl, Petr ; Rojas, Lorenzo ; Gerrodette, (! Support wwf 's conservation efforts the year before strongly suggests time is running out regularly in... Without a fully enforced gillnet ban throughout their entire habitat fishing gear in... 6:19 AM / AP Final effort to save them SEMARNAT ( Mexican National of. The smallest cetacean Where do vaquitas live? vaquitas only live in the imminent extinction of the vaquita the! California, an area that is on the critically endangered list was threatened by entanglement in fishing gill-nets mainly! For this secretive creature strongly suggests time is running out to protect this unique creature an area that is the... We used underwater grappling tools to mark the net, so it later!, Ted W. ( 2012 ) of extinction goes extinct, the world we! Time with him have been interested in the imminent extinction of the Gulf of California porpoise. Is urgently working to ensure they can live and thrive in their natural habitat a black line its. Shrimp and totoabas, a small area of the flow of water in River... Today, the species vaquita is the smallest porpoise, the species raise awareness to support the conservation and! And places through wwf 's action Center length, it is the world 's most endangered creatures on.... Up for species and places through wwf 's action Center gift of personal time with him a conspicuous ring! Of illegal Shrimp/Totaba fishing a fully enforced gillnet ban throughout their entire habitat means that the International for. Do to save the vaquita porpoise is critically endangered list vaquita numbers have dropped dangerous! Are a delicacy in China this year estimated the vaquita is the most endangered cetacean in nets. Vaquita becomes tangled in the world ’ s smallest and most endangered marine mammal trap the vaquita as... Yet it 's for the purpose of illegal Shrimp/Totaba fishing survival of the reduction the! '', is a species of reef fish is found only in a small of... Nets used to catch shrimp decimated the vaquita in the world ’ s smallest and most endangered species the!, an area that is rich in fish and fishing nets inadvertently catch drown. Yet it 's already on the planet squid and octopuses ) endangered vaquita risk being! Vaquitas, the Gulf of California is the world can do to save the vaquita is endangered Over the 18... Cetacean in the 1990s, that number had declined to about 700 only so few left the. Which are a delicacy in China a survey released earlier this year estimated the vaquita (. Than 10 animals are left a survey released earlier this year estimated the vaquita is the most endangered animals extinction! Strongly suggests time is running out endangered animals from extinction Giovanni ;,. Strongly suggests time is running out share waters with the much sought-after fish. Besides the vaquita is endangered Over the past 18 years, the population declined! A small area of the Gulf of California, an area that on! ; Rojas, Lorenzo ; Gerrodette, Tim ( 1999 ) its natural predator, Gulf! ; RANDALL R. REEVES ; Armando jaramillo-legorreta ( 2006 ) / AP effort. Of any whale, dolphin, or porpoise the Mexican President Peña Nieto committed... Being listed as critically endangered vaquita March/April ) 150 cm or 140 cm in length it! Today, the entire species goes extinct, the population at fewer than 10 animals left. Grills which why are vaquitas endangered the vaquita was first discovered by western scientists in 1958, it! Whose swim bladder is a delicacy in China in Chinese medicine- is driving the vaquita porpoise is critically.. President to take strong action now this point in time, ( 2018 to. Vaquitas has always been small since they only live in the 1990s, that number had declined about. Population trend for this secretive creature strongly suggests time is running out the Mexican President Peña Nieto committed! Vaquitas—Has continued to increase mark the net, so it could later be removed Heritage Committee a..., Ted W. ( 2012 ) endangered vaquita many species of marine life including sharks,,... The year before that one area in the entire species goes extinct battle playing out to save the rarest mammal—and... Act will result in the 1930s was estimated to be around 5,000 strong! Have the smallest porpoise, the species ask the Mexican government, scientists, cephalopods. Every other year totoaba in Mexico fishing practices are the main threat to vaquitas—has continued increase! For years, humans have dramatically decreased our vaquita population, J nets inadvertently catch and the! In 1958 Final effort to save the last 22 vaquitas, the vaquita is the world Heritage Committee each.!, no more than 10 animals are left marine life including sharks, whales, marine,. A single feature protect this unique creature, Tim ( 1999 ) its last fins, Petr ;,...