This is the Vaquita. They are the smallest porpoise in the world. They never stop smiling, and there are less than 30 of them left making them the world's most endangered marine mammal.
They are critically endangered and their extinction is only imminent. Save the Vaquita Day is July 11th and they may not even make it. They are endemic to a small area in the upper Gulf of California.
Vaquitas are the most critically endangered marine mammals in the world, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Between 1997 and 2008, unsustainable deaths in gillnets caused vaquitas to decline from around 600 to 250. Since 2011, the resumption of illegal fishing for a large endangered fish (the totoaba) increased the decline to 34% a year, resulting in only 60 vaquitas remaining in December 2015. The swim bladders of totoaba fetch large sums of money in Hong Kong and Chinese black markets. In response to the alarming rate of decline, the Mexican government instituted a two-year gillnet ban throughout the vaquita’s range (2015-2017), increased enforcement with the Mexican Navy, and compensated fishers affected by the two-year gillnet ban ($72 million). Despite these substantial government actions, illegal fishing continues and will likely result in extinction of vaquitas in the next few years.
In 2015 the Mexican government implemented a 2 year ban of gillnets throughout the Vaquita's range in hopes that this would help the population recover. The Mexican government has determined that emergency action is needed to temporarily remove some of the remaining animals from their threatening environment and create a safe haven for them in the northern Gulf of California.
Officials estimate the plan will cost more than $3M in 2017 and will rely on a variety of funding sources, including donations from the public, private organizations and non-profit groups. There is an urgent need for immediate funding to avoid delaying efforts.
Every donation is vital in keeping these beauties alive. Every bit counts.
If you'd like to donate, or want to learn more about this precious little porpoise, visit VaquitaCPR.org