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).
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.
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.
Maris Sidenstecker I
Executive Director, Save The Whales
a 501(c)(3) organization
Voted Top-Rated NonProfit 2013