The San Diego Union Tribune just ran an excellent piece called “Fight for survival at sea“, which covers the plight of the Vaquita Marina, the now-heavily endangered porpoise native to the Sea of Cortez.
There’s only about 400 vaquitas left in the world, and they are threatened by the ‘gill nets’ commonly used by fishermen in the area. A host of agencies and officials are now, as they put it, ‘try to save the vaquita without making fishermen instinct’.
SAN FELIPE, Mexico – Few people have ever seen a vaquita porpoise. Scientists estimate that no more than 400 of the elusive marine mammals are alive today.
But the world’s smallest porpoise is attracting international attention. With recent news of the extinction of the baiji dolphin in China’s Yangtze River, the question is whether Mexico’s vaquita will be the next cetacean to vanish.
Despite years of efforts to protect the vaquita, its population in the northern Gulf of California is shrinking by an estimated 30 per year.
“If we don’t do our job, another species will disappear,” said Lorenzo Rojas Bracho, a scientist with Mexico’s National Institute of Ecology.