Have you heard of the vaquita?
We might have mentioned them on Earth Day: Protect Our Species, but many people still haven't heard of vaquita.
The vaquita is the smallest cetacean in the world, as well as being the rarest. It is estimated that there are around 10 left in the world and many are unsure if we will be able to save them now. None the less the fight goes on to save the worlds rarest marine mammal.
Growing up to 5ft and weighing up to 120lbs it can be quite difficult to keep tabs on this species which is why we can only estimate their numbers. Female vaquita only give birth to one calf every other year with an 11 month gestation period.
Why are there so few vaquita left in the world?
In 1997 the vaquita had a population of around 600, just over 20 years later there are less than 10. How? Why?
The biggest threat to vaquita is getting caught in fishing gear and drowning. Nearly 1 out of every 5 vaquita is killed by gillnets intended for other fish. Gillnets are used to catch totoaba, a critically endangered fish that is in demand in China for the swim bladder. Illegal fishing for the totoaba has been the biggest contributor to the decline of vaquita.
What is being done to protect them?
In July 2016 President Barack Obama and President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico announced a collaboration between their two countries to protect the vaquita. The WWF have been working with Mexican scientists, government representatives and other partners to develop a long-term strategy for conservation of the species. They have called on the Mexican government to strongly enforce the ban on gillnet fisheries along with the US and China to stamp out the illegal trade on totoaba products.
The Sea Shepherds are an absolutely AWESOME organization leading the fight to save the vaquita. To date they have removed 163,600 meters (101 miles) of illegal fishing gear, saving thousands of marine mammals! These guys are true heroes out on the sea and we seriously suggest checking them out and consider donating too.
Spread The Word!
Today we are spreading the word about vaquita and offering you a FREE Vaquita Awareness Day Bracelet (worth $20) just help out with shipping and handling. PLUS we have amazing offers on multipacks for you to share with friends and family to spread awareness even further!