Absent action, vaquita die-off seen in 10 years


Two new academic studies warn that the diminutive Mexican porpoise called the vaquita will go extinct within a decade unless the government takes additional measures to protect it. Drawing on acoustic monitoring of the mammal’s echolocation clicks, the studies offer detailed evidence to show the vaquita’s dramatic population loss in its upper Gulf of California habitat. Published this month in Conservation Biology and Conservation Letters, the papers report a “catastrophic” decline of 34% annually during 2011-15. Adding the results of a visual survey during the fall of 2015, the authors of the study in Conservation Letters estimate that only 59 vaquitas (Phocoena sinus) remained at the end of 2015. The number now is even lower. Three dead vaquitas were discovered this spring entangled in gill... [Log in to read more]

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