With Only 30 Left, Vaquita Face Imminent Extinction Without Help

Category: Science Written by Beth Owens 5,560 11

An immediate extension of a fishing ban is desperately needed to save the vaquita, who’s population is as low as 30 individuals.

Its species could die out in the months to come. The vaquita marina, which already holds the title of the rarest cetacean in the world , could be the victim of the success of a fish that shares the same habitat, the totoabas, which is a common fish in China.

This illegal trade precipitates the vaquita towards extinction, as the Guardian explains , in an article on the undercover investigation that was devoted to it. “There are only 30 vaquitas left in the northern Gulf of Mexico today, and the marine conservationists have warned that the population has been almost completely eradicated by the pirate fishermen who hunt totoabas and kill the vaquitas during the process.

Vaquita extinction
Vaquita extinction

“Aquatic cocaine”

The totoabas is fished for its swim bladder, to the so-called medicinal virtues, which sells very high price on the Chinese black market. In Shantou, Guandong province, its price per kilo would be $ 20,000, hence its nickname ” aquatic cocaine “.

“Demand is strong and stable, prices go up,” said Andrea Costa, member of the Elephant Action League who conducted the totoabas investigation, in the British daily newspaper. “The application of the law is very low because it is not an absolute priority, probably because it involves rich and powerful people,” he added.

Firm and effective measures called for

The totoabas are captured in mesh gillnets, despite the ban on their use by the Mexican government. These nets are at the origin of the death of the vaquitas, but the illegal fishing of the fishes with the golden bladders is far too remunerative to be stopped, in spite of the action of the organizations of defense of the animals.

Chris Gee, head of campaigns at WWF-UK, said:

“Time is rapidly running out for the vaquita, we could tragically lose the ‘panda of the sea’ in a matter of months.

“We need the public’s help now to motivate the Mexican government to act to protect the species and the World Heritage site that provides home to the vaquita.

“The last hope for the species is the Mexican government immediately putting in place and properly enforcing a permanent ban on gillnets.

“This will also help safeguard this precious World Heritage site and the livelihoods of the local people who depend on it.”

According to Chris Gee, WWF, the latest vaquitas could disappear in the coming months. “The last hope for these species would be for the Mexican government to put in place a permanent and effective ban on these nets.” WWF also calls for cooperation between the Mexican, American and Chinese governments to intercept and stop the illegal transport of totoabas.

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11 thoughts on “With Only 30 Left, Vaquita Face Imminent Extinction Without Help

  1. PK

    They have no freaking clue how many are alive today. It’s impossible to know that.
    Regardless species go extinct every day and new species are found. Some of those previously thought extinct. So is the cycle of life on planet Earth. Deal with it. One day we will be exctinct.

    1. monkey

      with people like you and with your attitude yeah but I hope there are more people with better life attitudes than you and most of them would like to see these and many other creatures live on forever your just evil and nasty that’s all

      1. Christine

        I also hope there are enough good, caring people out there who will save them. I’ve made my donations. I hope others do, too, and I hope our $$$ is used wisely.

    2. Christine

      These animals are being killed by human greed and profit. We humans can and should stop this tragic loss. I hope what goes extinct is your attitude.

  2. NICKY

    Some country or restaurant must like them. With only 30 remaining the price will skyrocket. FYI the vaquita is a member of the whale family, has been on the critically endangered list since 1996. Whose fault is this? The Chinese have a voracious appetite for this species. So what now, slap their hand.

  3. Ken

    Horny Chinese want to boost their sexual prowess via the ‘medicinall properties’ or the Totoaba swim bladder. Vaquitas are killed in the process. I’m tired of the exotic needs of some Chinese threatening intelligent mammal species with extinction.

  4. james w cranford

    well, if you going to count on Mexico, you may as well as right off the species. Mexico believes in strangling its own economy with socialist policies. corruption is a way of life, an expectation of ‘elected’ officials at every level. on top of that, maybe one fifth of the Mexican population is now in the US.outside of the area of Mexico City and a number of ‘tourist traps’, i am afraid the government of Mexico is about as dependable as the worse of USPS route carriers.

  5. Teamroper1950

    By no sense of the imagination would anyone consider me an animal rights activist or environmentalist. That being said, even I am appalled by the needless annihilation of the Vaquitas, elephants, rhinos, sharks, whales and too many other species I cannot remember.

    Animal rights activists and environmentalists will never succeed in saving these at risk species because you are all about the “whine-whine-whine” but are not willing to take up arms and place yourself in harm’s way or even better – convince someone to drop multiple MOABs on Asia, which should precipitously reduce the number of sub-human life forms that believe animal parts are required to maximize sexual prowess and enjoyment.

    Finally, Leonardo Di Caprio’s involvement was and always will be a unmitigated waste of time, but at least Leonardo can feel good about himself and the massive harm he does to the environment with his conspicuous consumption of resources.

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