Vaquita Porpoise : Extinction Alert
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) issued its first ‘extinction alert’ on the vaquita porpoise.
- Vaquita Porpoise is the world’s smallest cetacean.
- It is unique among the porpoises as it is the only species of that family found in warm waters, and the size of the dorsal fin is believed to be an adaptation to that, allowing for extra body heat to dissipate.
- The name vaquita means “little cow” in Spanish.
- It has the smallest range of any whale, dolphin or porpoise, and only lives in a small 1,500 square-mile area in Mexico’s upper Gulf of California, near the town of San Felipe.
- It has a large dark ring around its eyes and dark patches on its lips that form a thin line from the mouth to the pectoral fins.
- It only measures up to five feet in size.
- The vaquita population has been declining precipitously for decades due to bycatch in gillnet set to catch shrimp and fish, including totoaba.
- Conservation status
- IUCN: Critically Endangered
- CITES: Appendix I