(Vaquitas are) the world’s most rare marine animal, and it’s “on the edge of extinction,” WWF says.
Only 10 individuals are still living in Mexico — and it has already been declared “functionally extinct.”
“The situation is completely out of control,” says Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho, a cetacean expert at the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change in Ensenada, Mexico, and member of the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita, an international advisory group to the Mexican government. “Of course, there’s a risk in capturing the vaquitas. But it’s clear now that they will be killed [in gillnets] anyway.”
Last month, the Mexican government announced that it would ban gillnets across 5,000 square miles of the upper Gulf of California for two years and compensating the fishermen. The two years will buy time while experts and local fishermen develop nets that are safe for vaquitas.