ABOUT THE VAQUITA
The Vaquita, a name which means 'little cow' in Spanish, is indeed tiny. Vaquitas are the smallest of all porpoises and therefore among the smallest cetaceans. The largest of Vaquitas top out at under 5 ft. However, as to the rest of their name, there is nothing 'cow-like' about this charming and graceful creature, darting through the shallow waters of its ocean home.
The Vaquita is one of only six species of true porpoises, and is a completely unique species. It is the only porpoise to live in the warm waters of the Eastern Pacific, and bears unusual and beautiful darks rings around their eyes and mouths, unlike any other cetacean.
Sadly, the Vaquita is known to be the most endangered marine mammal in the world.
Vaquitas live only in the murky shallows of the lagoons and shoreline of the northern part of the Gulf of California, the body of water between the Baja Peninsula and Mexico. They are under threat mainly due to the fishing industry. Fisherman in these waters currently use a type of nearly invisible net called a gillnet to catch fish and shrimp, and in the process many Vaquitas also become ensnared. Unable to return to the surface to breathe, these mammals drown. Scientists estimate that between 39 and 84 individuals die this way each year. Since the total population of remaining Vaquitas is between 100-300, it is clear that the practice must change, and soon, if there is to be any hope for this wonderful tiny porpoise.
For those who care about the Vaquita and the biodiversity of our planet, the time to act is now! And there is hope. The Mexican Government is creating a plan to compensate gillnet fishermen for giving up gillnet fishing in the Vaquitas range --- through buy-out and rent-out programs, and the development of alternative fishing gear that does not harm Vaquitas. We applaud Mexico's progress in this arena, but unfortunately, recent economic events have slowed progress. Please support the excellent efforts and action plan of ¡Viva Vaquita! with a purchase of ESPP's Vaquita Print, and visit their website
for more information on how you can help. Thank you for your support!