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¿Qué está pasando con la vaquita marina? 🐳

What is happening with the vaquita porpoise? 🐳

One of the most endangered marine species in the world is a tiny porpoise known as the vaquita porpoise. Shortly after scientists discovered the species in 1950, they realized that it was endangered, due to its very limited geographical distribution, which consists of just about four thousand square kilometers, located in the upper part of the Gulf of California; Its low reproduction rates, since a female can only have between 2 and 7 offspring in its entire life, and the mortality derived from fishing place it at great risk.

Vaquitas were often sunk in drift nets intended for shrimp and totoabas, a fish whose swim bladder is a delicacy in China. In 1975, after having declared the totoaba a threatened species, Mexico banned fishing for these creatures. But the task is easier, more lucrative, and less risky than drug trafficking, which is why totoaba fishing continues; and, therefore, also the death of vaquitas due to bycatch.

In 2008 there was a population of just over 200 specimens, according to a census carried out by the NGO Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) between May 10 and 26, 2023, there are currently between 10 and 13 vaquita porpoises, including a newborn that has been observed in two consecutive censuses.

Matthew Podolsky, a wildlife biologist, maintains that “even if that vaquita had not died and trapping efforts had been successful, the root of the problem would remain.” Poachers, greedy cartels and corruption would still care more about capturing totoabas than protecting the vaquitas.

Podolsky is co-director of Sea of ​​Shadows, a National Geographic documentary about undercover activists and researchers working to help save this species.


In this fight against extinction, Podolsky sees a warning about the importance of protecting little-known animals “at the first sign of danger,” and not just when a few remain. This is just a little of what the merino vaquita suffers because of humans and not only this species, but many more animals in danger of extinction.
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