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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Vaquita Faces Threat Of Extinction

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Vaquita is one of the rarest species that dwell on the Earth today. They belong to the porpoise endemic and are commonly found in the northern part of the Gulf of California. The average height of the animals is 150 & 140cm for females and males respectively. 

The small length of the animal makes it the shortest cetacean alive. The structure of the animals makes it easy to be recognized. It has a tall fin that is triangular in shape. This fin is much bigger compared to the rest of the body. These animals are usually grey. One can find occasional darker patches near its back. 

Unfortunately, these small animals are facing the risk of extinction. Data scientists have recorded a sharp decline in the population of the Vaquitas. A major contributing factor is the illegal fishing of these animals. Near the California bay, local fishermen catch these animals with gill nets. 

These are then used for the totoaba fishery. The uncontrolled killing has resulted in a downward trend in its population. The IUCN Red List has already listed the animal as critically endangered. Without strong action from the government, the species can well become extinct very soon. 

Biologists have stated other reasons for its endangered status as well. They said that human activities near the coast have plagued them significantly. The shores of California are ravaged by industrial wastes. Pesticides and harmful chemicals pollute the waters in the gulf. This makes the habitat for sea animals impossible to dwell in.

 The harmful pesticides are causing significant damage to all the exotic species. The dumping of plastics is another main reason why Vaquitas are dying. The animals are mistakenly consuming the plastics for food. 

Read: Oceans: Oceans: There’s Still Reasons To Be Hopeful For Its Conservation

The materials then get stuck and eventually choke the animals to death. Let us learn more about the endangered species in detail below.

Vaquita Population Almost Zero In California 

If illegal human activities are left unchecked, we have to bid adieu to a number of animals. Vaquita or the smiling panda is one such animal that might be soon gone. 

Vaquita
Vaquita

A shocking statistics have been revealed recently. As per the survey conducted in 1997, the number of porpoises was tallied at six hundred. However, the numbers have declined by leaps and bounds. In less than twenty-five years, the number has come down to only Ten! There are only ten vaquitas left as of now in the whole world. 

Petitions have been submitted to the government of Mexico to take adequate measures. A wildlife enthusiast accused the government of being ignorant. He stated that the decision to withdraw the ban on fishing was disastrous. The person also criticized the government’s approach towards the conservation of the species. 

Read: Climate Change Education Made Compulsory In Schools By The Italian Government

Vaquita: Ways To Revive Them

A strong sense of urgency has crept into the environmentalists. They are eager to conserve the species and make them grow again. The government of Mexico initiated a zero-tolerance zone in the year 2017. 

However, the initiative was looked after strictly. As a result, illegal fishing continued. Many nonprofit organizations have come forward to rescue the Vaquita. Museo De La Ballena is one such organization. They have started to remove the illegal fishnets from the coast. The organization has also taken an initiative to clean the shores as much as possible. 

The team has discussed alternative lifestyle options with the fishermen. This will discourage the locals from taking up fishing which in turn, would be beneficial to the Vaquita. 

The local fishermen are being adequately funded by “La Ballena” so that they can switch professions without hassle. It now remains to be seen whether the Vaquita population can be revived or not. 

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