The Endangered Vaquita Porpoise in the Sea of Cortez

Updated 7/7/17
Vaquita mother & calf. Artist: Raziel Levi Mendez Moreno

The seldom-seen Vaquita is a small porpoise (similar to a dolphin) that lives only in the northern reaches of the Gulf of California between the states of Baja California and Sonora below the Colorado River delta. Unfortunately, a rare Sea of Cortez fish called the Totuava swims in that same region. The Chinese value the bladder of Totuava in the thousands of dollars making fishing very profitable for the fisherman of the area. The problem is it's illegal to catch Totuava so it's done clandestinely. The same nets used to illegally catch this fish are killing off the Vaquita as a by-product.

The Mexican government has banned gill nets in the northern region of the Gulf of California. The Mexican Navy is now patrolling the region plus other organizations such as Sea Shepard have stepped in as a last ditch effort to save the marine mammal from extinction. They believe there are less than 60 left in the world.

The good news is the plight of the Vaquita, which means "little cow" in Spanish, has spread rapidly across both social and regular media (#SaveTheVaquita). And possibly with the outpouring of support, this magnificent creature may be saved. Please take a look at the links and articles below for more information and to possibly help the cause.

Thanks for putting this together

We've put together a list of articles, websites, videos and organizations

- Mexico Will Use Dolphins to Herd the Endangered Vaquita to Safety from

- Basic Facts about the Vaquita from Defenders of Wildlife

- The Last Vaquitas segment on 60 Minutes

- The time is now: Solutions for lasting change in Upper Gulf of California - VaquitaCPR is an international conservation program led by Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT), the Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources in Mexico. VaquitaCPR operates as a private and public partnership, relying on both private donors and government funds. The National Marine Mammal Foundation, The Marine Mammal Center, and Chicago Zoological Society are assisting with coordination of the effort. Key collaborators in Mexico include Instituto Nacional de Ecología (INECC), Asociación Mexicana de Hábitats para la Interacción y Protección de Mamíferos Marinos (AMHMAR), Baja Aqua Farms, and Acuario Oceanico. United States collaborators include Duke University and the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission. - ¡VIVA Vaquita! is a coalition of like-minded scientists, educators, and conservationists, who strive to increase the attention given to the vaquita, the World's most endangered marine mammal species. Our goals and mission are to generate awareness of the vaquita and to promote a healthy Upper Gulf of California ecosystem. We conduct research, public awareness and education activities to bring this about. Ultimately, we aim to help save the vaquita from extinction, and to do so in a way that also provides long-term benefits to the fisherman and other residents who live around the Gulf of California, Mexico. - Souls of the Vermilion Sea is a feature length documentary about the struggle to save the world’s most endangered marine mammal, the vaquita.  Searching for the Vaquita is the first short film in an ongoing series about this small species of porpoise, focusing on the Vaquita Survey Mission that took place in the Fall of 2015.  See what life was like on board the vaquita survey vessel, Ocean Starr, and hear about the struggle to save this species from top vaquita experts as well as local fisherman. - I’m Aidan Bodeo-Lomicky, a 16-year-old boy living in Greenville, South Carolina. I play tennis about 15 hours a week, but when I’m not, I’m either birding, making music, drawing and painting, or working on marine mammal conservation, (oh yeah, and school). A few years ago, I stumbled upon the vaquita, a tiny endangered porpoise. I was heartbroken when I read its story, so I decided to start this blog, along with many other efforts to help this species. V-log (pronounced VEE-log) started as a website where I posted updates, artwork, facts, and poetry about the vaquita weekly, and had other pages to help inform you about the vaquita and its helpers. It has grown tremendously and become a primary source for vaquita news and information about our conservation initiatives. I hope I will help save a species in need. - Vaquita Endangered Porpoise is a science documentary project exploring the decline of the critically endangered vaquita porpoise. We explore solutions for the species and local communities in the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico.


Anonymous said…
Glad to hear the U.S. and Mexico are now working together to save the vaquita. And that all gill nets are banned from the reserve.