Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vaquita Why Worry ?

On my Baja trip, every evening we had a lecture from one of of naturalists. Tom Jefferson, who is a Marine mammalogist and the lead author of Marine mammals of the world, presented a lecture on the Vaquita. First, you'll ask, what is a Vaquita and why should we be worried about it? So, I will tell you, this information comes from a pamphlet from Vaquita Fund at the Cetos Research Organization..

The Vaquita is a small porpoise, it is one of the only six species of two porpoises, and is the only one that occurs in warm waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean. It is found in a tiny area in extreme northern Gulf of California, in Baja California, Mexico. It is an unique species, what of body shape and color patent I like that of any other porpoise. It has a tall dorsal fin and a beautiful color patent on the face, with dark eye rings and the patches. There is only one small population, and of the species goes extinct they will be gone forever.

Vaquita photos taken by Thomas A. Jefferson under permit (Oficio No. DR/488/08) from the Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT), within a natural protected area subject to special management and decreed as such by the Mexican Government.

The Vaquita probably always been rare. But in the last few decades, the small population has plummeted, as gill nets set for fish and shrimp kill more porpoises then are born. The current population is thought to be 245 individuals, and is declining quickly. If rapid progress is not made the Vaquita may be extinct in a few short years. The Mexican government and US government both list of the Vaquita is endangered.,

Yes, they can be saved! The Vaquita's home in the Gulf of California is clean and healthy. The only real problem is the gill nets and entangling kill Vaquita's. If these can be moved out of the small area within a team is it correct the species will likely recover.

The Vaquita means " little cow" in Spanish and they are about 5 feet long. It is the smallest species of cetacean. Its range is only about a quarter the size of metropolitan Los Angeles and it lives only about a four-hour drive from San Diego. Unlike other porpoises, Vaquita is give birth only every other year.

It is the rarest and most-endangered species of marine mammals in the world. And we can help by passing on the information about Vaquita is and its plight. Support fishermen who don't use gill nets. Help the Mexican economy. And write to Congress and ask them to support Mexican action to save the Vaquita. Also write letters of support to Mexico's Ministry of environment.

A donation to the Vaquita recovery fund (which is tax deductible) can be sent to the Cetos Research Organization/Vaquita, care of Cetos Atlantic/Ann Zoidis, 11 Des Isle Ave, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

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Thanks again for your help