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Brownies support whales and dolphins

06 July 2017

The World's Smallest Porpoise Faces Extinction

Vaquita are the world’s smallest and one of the most endangered species of whale, dolphin or porpoise on the planet.  Found only in Mexico’s northern Gulf of California, numbers of vaquita have declined by more than 75% in the past three years. Now scientists believe that fewer than 50 vaquita remain.

VaquitaThe single biggest threat to vaquita is accidental catch in gillnets and illegal fisheries in the Gulf of California targeting a fish known as Totoaba (which is also endangered).  Smuggled into China, dried Totoaba swim bladders, worth more than $10,000 each, are used to make maw, a soup thought to boost fertility. 

The near extinction of vaquita was preventable.  Now the situation is desperate with so few left. The emergency plan to save them is uncertain and controversial, but the need to stop the unnecessary bycatch and illegal trade of endangered species is not. WDC continues to support the efforts to ban all gillnetting within the vaquita habitat and continue to work to reduce the threat of bycatch to all whales, dolphins, and porpoises. 

According to reports from Mexico, the government there now plans to use dolphins trained by the US Navy to try to save the vaquita from extinction. The dolphins would be trained to locate and herd vaquitas into a marine refuge.

WDC has often spoken out against the use of dolphins in military exercises and opposes the captivity of whales and dolphins for human entertainment but the story of vaquita is not about captivity.  

Tragically, vaquita are on the brink of extinction because of the failures over past decades to stop illegal fishing and illegal trade.

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