Featured Image Credit: VaquitaCPR
Following the unfortunate death of an adult female Vaquita just hours after its capture off San Felipe and a similar instance in October, with a Vaquita calf that nearly died due to stress, scientists have decided to stop their efforts in capturing the endangered Porpoises on the Sea of Cortez.
According to Steve Walker, the communications advisor with the National Marine Mammal Foundation (NMMF), “ There have been no additional attempts to rescue a Vaquita porpoise since November 4th and there will not be future attempts during the remaining period of the VaquitaCPR field operations.”
The VaquitaCPR operation is a nonprofit group based out of San Diego, striving to create a captive breeding program in San Felipe for the endangered Porpoise. Since the discovery of this species in 1958, the population has been reduced to a mere 30, putting it on the brink of extinction.
Comprised of a team of 60 scientists, the VaquitaCPR group was aiming to run the operation for roughly one month. These scientists are also linking illegal gillnet fishing to trapping, and ultimately drowning the porpoises, causing the rapid decline of the species. Over the last month, the group has been photographing dorsal fins of the porpoise in a last-ditch effort to get an accurate count of the ones remaining in the wild.
Due to the ongoing complications in capturing of the porpoises, many animal conservation groups were calling for an end to the program altogether. In a further interview with Capt. Paul Watson, the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, “the key to protecting the Vaquita is defending the Vaquita Refuge and that means keeping the poachers out and removing any and all nets”.
The Vaquita Porpoise is just one of many Porpoise species including the Burmeister, Dall, Finless, Harbour and Spectacled but among those, it remains the rarest of them all.
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