Endangered Vaquita Struggles To Recover From The Edge Of Oblivion

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Remember the Chinese river dolphin?


That’s the problem. The “goddess of the Yangtze” went extinct just this decade with a barely a whimper from major media.

And now another marine mammal is on the brink.

The little-know Vaquita, a tiny porpoise that lives only in the northern end of the Gulf of California, has found its way into the extinction limelight. The little cetacean is now considered to be the most endangered marine mammal in the world.

Researchers believe only 250 of the species remain, a 56 percent drop in just over ten years.

At 1.5 meters long, the Vaquita is the smallest of all cetaceans. Like many other small cetaceans, they suffer from pollution, ship traffic, and most of all, fishing nets.

Local fisherman—whose livelihoods depends on their daily catch—present a significant challenge for researchers looking to save the species.

To combat the problem, in 2005 Mexico created a 2,000 km preserve that protects the species from accidental fishing deaths. Marine biologists are now working on introducing alternative means of fishing and expanding the protected area.

Let’s hope these methods — or any method — work. Enough with the killing of porpoises already.

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