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The species is listed as “Critically Endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is facing imminent extinction. Citation : Vaquita porpoise about to go extinct, researchers warn (2019, July 31) retrieved 15 October 2020 … The vaquita in the Gulf of California is the most endangered cetacean in the world. The first vaquita caught as part of a conservation effort in 2017. The ‘little cow’ of the sea nears extinction. The steep decline in abundance is primarily due to bycatch in gillnets from the illegal totoaba fishery. 2012 200 One of them didn’t survive, and VaquitaCPR was discontinued. This is just a fraction of the estimated population from 1997, which stood at 600. It exists only in the Gulf of California off Mexico. Can the vaquita be saved from extinction? works collaboratively with many other organizations (such as various NGOs, museums, aquaria, foundations, and governmental organizations) and individuals to carry out work aimed at helping to save the vaquita from extinction. But the work is easier, more lucrative, and less risky than drug trafficking, so totoaba fishing continues—as do the deaths of vaquitas as bycatch. The vaquita, or Phocoena sinus, is a small porpoise that reaches about 5 feet in length and about 120 pounds in adulthood. Recent research estimates the population at fewer than 10 individuals. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/09/vaquita-the-porpoise-familys-smallest-member-nears-extinction.html. A risky last-ditch effort to capture some of the remaining vaquita to keep them safe from poachers and their gillnets ended in the fall of 2017 when a female vaquita died following capture and release. It is possible, though, that there no more than 10 vaquitas left. Scientists can identify individual vaquitas based on a single feature. Share it: The world is abundant in a bounty of wildlife that makes it all the more majestic a natural haven to seek beauty in. In 2017, the conservation group Vaquita CPR attempted a rescue mission. The world is on the cusp of losing another important species, as new reports estimate that just 12 vaquitas remain in the wild. We’re also on Pinterest, Tumblr, and Flipboard. These wildlife that are however dependent on the natural world and its many coexisting elements for survival continuously face such threats that can even wipe entire species. Two vaquitas in the Gulf of California. The advent of gillnetting for fish and shrimp only a few decades ago drove vaquitas towards extinction, as they are incidentally caught in the nets. Now, word is spreading that with just one dozen left, the vaquita's future is in critical condition. Unless the species’ decline can be slowed, vaquitas likely will become extinct before 2021, which raises the question: How did we let this happen? The advent of gillnetting for fish and shrimp only a few decades ago drove vaquitas towards extinction, as they are incidentally caught in the nets. The vaquita (Phocoena sinus), literally "little cow", is a species of porpoise endemic to the northern end of the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez, Vermilion Sea). The central government of Mexico recently stepped up efforts to curb the use of gill nets in the area where the vaquita lives, but with very poor results, in my opinion,” he shared. Distinct for the dark rings around their eyes, they're affectionately known as “pandas of the sea.”, This animal is called a Vaquita, they live in the northern gulf of California, and there are only 12 of them left. Vaquitas only live in the northern end of Mexico’s Gulf of California. From habitat loss […] Visit My Modern Met Media. Although you probably don’t know it, every day you run the risk of stumbling into a fishing net, becoming entangled and suffocating when you can’t get to the surface to breathe. (For comparison, in 1997, the population was estimated to … But unfortunately, traditional fishing methods in Mexico have contributed to the eradication of this marine species. WatchMojo.com Recommended for you. What’s life like for a vaquita? The population of the already rare vaquita was being obliterated by the totoaba trade. Estimates from abundance surveys in the Gulf of California, the vaquita's only habitat, indicate that fewer than 100 and possibly only about 30 animals are remain in the wild. V01F appeared to be so stressed by the experience that the conservationists decided to release her back into the wild. While all animals undergo some stress while being transferred into captivity, the female porpoise the team rescued was not able to withstand the conditions and died shortly after being brought back to the sea. Acoustic monitoring between 2011 and 2016 recorded an increased rate of decline to about 40 percent … 10 Animals That Are Close To Going Extinct - Duration: 7:44. Podolsky co-directed Sea of Shadows, a National Geographic documentary about activists’ and undercover investigators’ work to help save the species. More information: Phillip A. Morin et al. Our work includes education, public awareness, research, and occasional lobbying. The Mexican shrimp industry was largely to blame for the loss of over 70 per cent of the vaquita population from 1990 to 2010. The vaquita, Spanish for little cow, is the world’s smallest porpoise and one of its most endangered sea mammals. Find out how by becoming a Patron. He fears that the remaining vaquita won't make it through the upcoming illegal fishing season. Where do vaquitas live? The plight of cetaceans—whales, dolphins, and porpoises—as a whole is exemplified by the rapid decline of the vaquita in Mexico, with about 10 individuals remaining. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All this affects the vaquita because while the gill nets catch totoaba, they also trap the small porpoises, which get tangled in the nets. Image: The first vaquita caught as part of a conservation effort in 2017. Credit: Vaquita CPR This small porpoise, which lives in the northern part of the Gulf of California, has been in danger for quite some time, with the population declining from 600 in 1997 down to 30 in 2017. Aside from legal measures and education thanks to organizations like WWF and Viva Vaquita, some conservationists were hopeful that a few vaquitas could be rescued and bred in captivity. The population has been declining for many years, from an estimated 600 in 1997 and down to below 100 in 2014, the rate of decline has not slowed down … All rights reserved. The latest report by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA) estimates that only between 6 and 22 individuals remained alive in 2018. During the night it is even worse.”. Vaquitas were regularly drowning in gill nets meant for shrimp and totoabas, a fish whose swim bladder is a delicacy in China. Want to advertise with us? The population of the Vaquita is estimated to be around 30 individuals. As our patron, you’ll become a member and join us in our effort to support the arts. The use of gill nets set by fishermen to catch an endangered fish species called totoaba is the culprit. Most likely, no more than 10 animals are left. This little porpoise wasn't discovered until 1958 and a little over half a century later, we are on the brink of losing them forever. Two vaquitas in the Gulf of California. Why Vaquita Are Almost Extinct November 1, 2016 / Vaquita is an extremely rare species of porpoise found nowhere else except the northern Gulf of California. A stocky creature about four and a half feet long, the vaquita is the smallest of the cetaceans, a family that includes whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Rare Vaquita Faces Extinction With Only 12 Left in the Wild. “I personally saw dozens of illegal fishing vessels (pangas) going out to sea in the middle of the day, even in areas patrolled by the Mexican navy. A vaquita in the foreground with fishing boats in the background. Although we know that the vaquita population has been decreasing since the first full abundance estimate in 1997, it is likely that the population has been decreasing since gillnets started being used in the 1940s. The team captured two females—but when both began showing signs of stress, they were released. 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. DOI: 10.1111/1755-0998.13284. Andrea Crosta of the wildlife trafficking watchdog group Elephant Action League recently traveled to Mexico, where multiple sources confirmed that the number of living vaquita was dangerously low. If you are a vaquita, your life is perilous. In 1997 there were around 600 vaquitas. Dark pigment edging vaquitas’ eyes gives them a bovine look; in Spanish, the animal’s name means “little cow.”. Date: March 14, 2016 Source: NOAA Fisheries Summary: An expedition has taken place to estimate how many vaquita remain. This young female vaquita, known as V01F, was captured during the VaquitaCPR mission, an emergency effort to place some of the endangered cetaceans in protected seapens. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- Celebrating creativity and promoting a positive culture by spotlighting the best sides of humanity—from the lighthearted and fun to the thought-provoking and enlightening. Fishing nets have almost wiped vaquitas out. Without intervention, the vaquita, a small porpoise living in the Gulf of California in northeastern Mexico, may become the next whale or dolphin species to go extinct … Though the vaquita is not directly hunted, winding up as “bycatch” in gillnets has decimated the population, which is now at risk of extinction. Free Online Library: Navy Dolphins Might Save The Vaquita From Extinction. As opposed to the white rhino, which faced extinction due to poaching, the vaquita itself isn't actively sought after by fishermen. ... FULL VIDEO - Sea Shepherd Attacked in Vaquita Refuge on World Wildlife Day - … All other species prefer water cooler than 68 degrees Fahrenheit. “I think they are actually waiting for the vaquita to go extinct so they can fish more and with fewer restrictions. Unless the species’ decline can be slowed, vaquitas likely will become extinct before 2021, which raises the question: How did we let this happen? ¡VIVA Vaquita! Shortly after scientists discovered the species in 1950, they realized it was in trouble. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. It could actually even be lower than that number. Quite solitary in their behavior, they live in shallow, warm water. The population has dropped from about 600 individuals in 1997 to fewer than 20 in 2018 and continues to decline at an alarming rate. Their name means “little cow” in Spanish because these tiny, chubby porpoises are usually only about four feet long. Some vaquitas have individually … Wildlife biologist Matthew Podolsky contends that “even if that vaquita hadn’t died and the capture effort had been successful, the root of the problem would still remain”: Impoverished poachers, greedy cartels, and corrupt officials would still care more about catching totoabas than protecting vaquitas. The vaquita is a small porpoise that can only be found in the Upper Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez) in Mexico. In this fight against extinction, Podolsky sees a cautionary tale about the importance of protecting rare animals “at the first sign of trouble”—not when only a few of them remain. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. The Mexican government placed a 2 year ban on using gillnets in the are where vaquitas are present because fishing with gillnets were one of the main reasons he vaquita are going extinct. In 2017 an international team of scientists, veterinarians, and conservationists gathered in Mexico to stage VaquitaCPR, a multimillion-dollar project to transfer half of the remaining vaquitas into protected sea pens until their safety in the wild could be assured. To understand the lengths Vaquita CPR has gone to rescue vaquitas from the brink of extinction, consider that the team mobilized not just fellow … Unfortunately, they were without success. No one knows exactly how many are now alive; by 2018 fewer than 19 were left, researchers estimate. Its extinction is imminent — and some even say, it's for the best. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. Totoaba, which is considered a delicacy in China, can fetch up to $50,000 on the black market. Besides … (Photo: Paula Olson, NOAA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons) The world is on the cusp of losing another important species, as new reports estimate that just 12 vaquitas remain in the wild. However, this doesn't just apply to animals that nearly faced extinction in the past. Endangered vaquita remain genetically healthy even in low numbers Study found no sign of inbreeding or 'extinction vortex' often linked to small populations Date: October 23, 2020 Source: Averaging 150 cm (for females) or 140 cm (for males) in length, it is the smallest of all living cetaceans. This is quite unusual, as vaquitas are the only porpoise species to tolerate warm water. Mexico has paid shrimp fishermen to stay out of vaquita habitat since 2015, but those compensation funds reportedly stopped arriving last December, … The vaquita porpoise lost 90% of its original population from 2011-2016. Unable to protect vaquitas in the wild, the government made an unprecedented attempt to protect them in captivity. Currently, only up to 19 vaquitas are still alive. Marine biologists estimate there are fewer than 20 of the porpoises left, and say they could even number in the single digits.

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