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Founded 1977

Save The Whales' purpose is to educate children

and adults about marine mammals, their

environment and their preservation. 

T Jefferson vaquita photo
The above photo was taken under permit Oficio No. DR/488/08 from the Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturale Protegidas (CONANP/Secretaría del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales SEMARNAT), within a natural protected area subject to special management and decreed as such by the Mexican Government. This work was made possible thanks to the collaboration and support of the Coordinador de Investigación y Conservación de Mamíferos Marinos at the Instituto Nacional de Ecología (INE).
Vaquita Emergency
Will The Smallest Cetacean Become Extinct?
Only 97 Remain
by clicking on above link 
A new study by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA), set up by the Mexican Government, has shown that the vaquita porpoise is much closer to extinction than anyone thought.
Delays in eliminating legal gillnet fishing and a new, illegal gillnet fishery for the swim bladders of totoaba, a Mexican giant bass, have resulted in a dramatic increase in the decline rate of the vaquita, from about 5-8%/year to the current 18.5%/year.
Totoaba are captured in gillnets in the spring when they migrate to the shallow waters of the Sea of Cortez. These fisheries also trap vaquita and they drown in the illegal totoaba fishing industry.
The totoaba, also known as a giant croaker, can measure up to 7 feet long and weigh more than 200 pounds. Their cream-colored, leathery bladders alone measure up to 3 feet.
The gas-filled bladders, which keep the fish buoyant, are removed and taken to stash houses along the border. The fish carcasses are left to rot on gulf shores near the tourist town of San Felipe.The totoaba's swim bladder is highly prized as an aphrodisiac and a soup addition in China. Since a bladder can fetch thousands of dollars, few fishermen can resist catching them.

U.S. border inspectors in Calexico, Mexico have seized 529 bladders since February. An inspector noticed about 30 bladders buried in an ice chest and the probe began.

Only an estimated 97 vaquitas remain, and probably less than 25 of these are reproductive females.

Remember to sign our petition at the above link.

For more information, go to these articles:
Last Chance for the Desert Porpoise



International Save The Vaquita Celebrations

Save The Whales at Santa Cruz,CA


The Vaquita Girls
Rebecca, Maris II and Erin

Save The Whales held their International Save The Vaquita Day celebration at the National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center, Santa Cruz, California, a beautiful site not far from the famous boardwalk. We had use of the second floor balcony with ocean view and a room adjoining the balcony.

The exhibit consisted of three hands-on interactive stations. On the balcony was our newborn vaquita model, Hope, wrapped in a net. She always attracts attention and people marvel at her small size. An adult vaquita only weighs 150 pounds.

Our educator, Tom Kieckhefer, was on hand to talk about vaquita, and he has a large store of information as he has been on two vaquita expedi-tions. Also on display were dolphin/porpoise skulls to explain the difference between the marine mammals, letters to the Mexican president, and a list of Frequently Asked Questions compiled by Thomas Jefferson, PhD.

A computer with a loop-

Vaquitas trapped in net

ing slide show played throughout the day on a large screen. Volunteers cut out 300 vaquitas, and they were woven into a net. Children could free (save) a trapped vaquita, take it to a coloring station and decorate. They could either keep their effort or leave it for display. Children and adults loved coloring the vaquitas and some were displayed in a netting. Thanks to William Wittenbury of the Muskwa Club for the idea. 

The Exploration Center brought in face painter Jen and, as you can see from the photographs, all ages participated. Maris II and our volunteers, Rebecca and Erin, with vaquita-decorated faces, became the "Vaquita Girls." Jen could paint any request; one man had an octopus wrapped around his face. Another of our exceptional volunteers, Lisette, worked at the coloring table. Special visitors were a blind couple who felt our vaquita model, Hope. More photos are available on our Facebook page.



Our Vaquita Student Contest ended August 15, 2014, and we will share the winner(s) on Facebook and our website.  Please help vaquita in whatever way you can.  Extinction is forever.




M1 signature   

Maris Sidenstecker I 

Executive Director, Save The Whales

a 501(c)(3) organization                

Voted Top-Rated NonProfit 2013   

School girl holding rack of baleen from Save The Whales educational programs. 

Rare Whale Baleen Fossil Found

Rare fossilized whale baleen was found in a ravine near a Southern California school. The 1,000- pound fossil is one of only 20 known samples of fossilized baleen in the world. The 16 million-year-old find is believed to be from an extinct whale species.  

It was transported to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles where researchers can attempt to determine what type of whale the baleen is from.  

It was found in Rancho Palos Verdes, a small city on bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the source of many marine fossils.    

Help Vaquita

Newborn vaquita model, Hope, trapped in net.

Save The Whales has provided data devices for fishermen in the Sea of Cortez so that they are aware when they have strayed into vaquita protected territory. We've given away thousands of coloring books to children in Mexico and the United States.
Purchase of an Adopt a Vaquita kit helps to fund these projects and others.

With the symbolic adoption kit, you receive:


An 8x10 glossy color photograph of a vaquita in the wild (shown above);


Adopt A Vaquita certificate personalized to your specifications;


4-page color vaquita newsletter; 


Letter to the United Nations for your signature;


Save The Whales window sticker;


Viva Vaquita window sticker; and


A vaquita dog tag necklace (suitable for all ages and both sexes).  These also may be purchased individually.   



Contribute to Save The 

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Send checks to: 


Save The Whales
1192 Waring St.

Seaside CA 93955


 Thank You! 

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