Throughout the year, the critically endangered vaquitas have been an important subject concerning organizations, governments and people in general. These rare species of porpoise has a concerning decreasing population given to illegal gillnet fishing, and scientists have embarked upon an expedition to count the vaquita specimens.
A GROUP OF SCIENTISTS IS ON A MISSION TO COUNT ENDANGERED VAQUITAS
Scientists from Mexico, Germany, U.S.A. and the U.K. got on board the R/V Ocean Starr on September 26 in order to begin the survey of the vaquitas, which live only in a corner of the Gulf of California and it is believed that remain less than 100 specimens in the wild, which unfortunately have been in decline since the 1950s.
“This porpoise probably has always had a relatively small population, but incidental mortality in gillnets over several decades have reduced the species to very low, critical numbers,” said Omar Vidal, director general of the World Wildlife Fund-Mexico, quoted on an article from NBC NEWS. “I believe that we are running the risk of losing the species, and this is certainly the last chance to save this unique Mexican porpoise.”
The Mexican government, in an effort to recover some of the specimens, released (in April 2015) a two-year ban for gillnet fishing, as well as extending its protected area; additionally, they introduced the use of drones to patrol the area and make sure there is no illegal fishing going on.
Let’s hope that the survey team will return with positive numbers, as they have already reported vaquita sightings. Hopefully all the efforts will pay up and the small population starts repopulating, slowly but truly.
By By Dania Vargas Austryjak