Deep in the Sea of Cortez, there lives a tiny, special porpoise. Known as the vaquita, it’s extraordinarily shy and is the world’s smallest cetacean. It’s also one of the most endangered species on earth. With a population of only about 60, the vaquita is teetering on the brink of extinction. Of the 60 porpoises, only 25 are estimated to be females that are in the right age bracket to reproduce, and in the last few years, their numbers have plummeted by almost 20%.
Back in 1996, the species was listed as critically endangered. Since then, many experts have been saying that the only way to save them is to eliminate gillnets in the region. Mexico put a two-year moratorium on gillnets in the only area they call home in an effort to help them reproduce, but with a slower reproduction rate–about one calf every two years–more needs to be done.
That’s why Sea Shepherd has started a campaign to save them. With a goal of $500,000, donations have been pouring in, but they still need your help–and so does the vaquita. Sea Shepherd has two ships patrolling the refuge from illegal fishing–which is rampant in the area–and that takes money. Lots of it.