The EDGE team received some shocking news this month that our number 78 EDGE species, the vaquita (Phocoena sinus) is slipping even closer towards extinction.
[flashvideo filename=videos/vaquita.flv image=videos/vaq.jpg /]
Video courtesy of Conservación Internacional – México A.C.
In a recent study published in Conservation Biology, scientists estimated that a mere 150 of this species remain off the coast of Mexico.
The vaquita is not only the world’s smallest cetacean, but also has the most limited distribution, existing only in the upper Gulf of California.
Following major declines over the years, in 1993, the Mexican government established the Upper Gulf of California Biosphere Reserve to protect the vaquita and their habitat. However, over the years the number of porpoises killed due to bycatch has not decreased and with current estimates of 40 deaths per year, populations are not large enough to survive these declines.
Scientists estimate that there is a two year window in which to implement conservation solutions, the main action being the removal of nets from the vaquita’s environment by buying out entangling net fisheries and developing more sustainable fishing practices.
If the baiji is extinct, (which we desperately hope is not true) this tiny porpoise will take over the pole position as the world’s most critically endangered marine mammal.
Unlike the Yangtze River however, the habitat of the vaquita still remains a fairly intact ecosystem with good reserves of natural prey and minimal pollution-making rescue efforts much more feasible.
If we delay our rescue attempts- we will lose the window of opportunity to prevent another extinction caused directly by humans…..
Please find out how you can help by visiting: