Vaquita porpoise’s plight becomes even more dire


Vaquita-protection patrols are shifting strategy as porpoise numbers dwindle. (Petey Crawford, Sea Shepherd)

The battle to save Mexico’s vaquita, the world’s smallest porpoise and most endangered cetacean, has become more desperate than ever. Experts announced in March that there may only be 10 vaquitas left, just as fishermen in the Upper Gulf of California began openly flouting a four-year-old ban on fishing in the beleaguered porpoise’s range. The International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (Cirva), a scientific team that advises the Mexican government, says sightings and acoustic monitoring indicate only 10 of the porpoises likely remained in 2018 compared to an estimated 30 in 2016. In a report published following a meeting of Cirva in February, the group said that accounting for margins of error, the vaquita population could be as low as six and as high as 22. With the vaquita (Phocoena sinus) moving ever-closer to extinction, the Mexican government and conservation groups are preparing to refocus... [Log in to read more]

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