In recent decades, the sleek, wide-eyed vaquita porpoise has been pushed to the brink of extinction by poachers pursuing another critically endangered sea creature, the totoaba, a … WWF is urgently working to ensure they can live and thrive in their natural habitat. Neither your address nor the recipient's address will be used for any other purpose. MEXICO CITY, Mexico – Nov. 26, 2020 – In a precedent-setting legal development, Mexican authorities have arrested six suspected totoaba traffickers under charges of Organized Crime – Crimes Against the Environment.. A press release issued by the Mexican Attorney … Precisely how does Pfizer's Covid-19 mRNA vaccine work? The survival of the vaquita marina porpoise remains precarious, writes Vanda Felbab-Brown. Specifically, when a particular species is in danger of becoming extinct. The female vaquita tragically died, but its living cells revealed the most complete and high-quality genome sequence of any dolphin, porpoise, or whale to date, generated in collaboration with the Vertebrate Genomes Project. Get weekly and/or daily updates delivered to your inbox. The vaquita (Phocoena sinus), literally "little cow", is a species of porpoise endemic to the northern end of the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez, Vermilion Sea). and Terms of Use. Averaging 150 cm (4.9 ft) (females) or 140 cm (4.6 ft) (males) in length, it is the smallest of all living cetaceans. The Mexican government, international committees, scientists, and conservation groups have recommended and implemented plans to help reduce the rate of bycatch, enforce gillnet bans, and promote population recovery. More recently, Illegal gillnetting for totoaba, a fish about the same size and found in the same habitat as the vaquita, has compounded the losses. Some vaquitas have individually … Found roaming around the Amur River in Southeast corner of Russia in the Sikhote-Alin … The world’s smallest porpoise was only discovered in 1958 and a little over half a century later, they are on the brink of extinction. Trafficking Arrests Made In Mexico For The Illegal Poaching Of Protected Totoaba; The Reason For The Decline Of The Critically Endangered Vaquita Porpoise Karen Lapizco - December 2, 2020 0 In a precedent-setting legal development, Mexican authorities have arrested six suspected totoaba traffickers under charges of Organized Crime and Crimes Against the Environment. [9], Because the vaquita was only fully described in the late 1980s, historical abundance is unknown. [17][18] However, the biggest threat still towards vaquita are fisheries. [19] In March 2020, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced a ban on imported Mexican shrimp and other seafood caught in vaquita habitat in the northern Gulf of California. DNA sequencing and restoring malformed sequences, Science X Daily and the Weekly Email Newsletter are free features that allow you to receive your favorite sci-tech news updates in your email inbox. By 1996, the IUCN considered the species critically endangered. [5] It was not until nearly thirty years later, in 1985, that fresh specimens allowed scientists to describe their external appearance fully. You can be assured our editors closely monitor every feedback sent and will take appropriate actions. It has a very restricted distribution, occurring only in the upper Gulf of California in … Your email address is used only to let the recipient know who sent the email. Losing the porpoise would be a tragedy for Mexico, the World Wildlife Fund said this week ― akin to “losing a piece” of the country, according to Maria Jose Villanueva, a project coordinator for WWF Mexico. We do not guarantee individual replies due to extremely high volume of correspondence. The vaquita is the most endangered cetacean in the world. With continued illegal totoaba fishing and uncontrolled bycatch of vaquitas, the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA) recommended that some vaquitas be removed from the high-density fishing area and be relocated to protected sea pens. Vaquitas have long survived and even thrived without falling into an "extinction vortex," the new study showed. "It's appearing to be more common than we thought that species can do just fine at low numbers over long periods," said Morin, who credited the vaquita findings to genetic experts around the world who contributed to the research. [19] Despite the progress made with legal fishermen, hundreds of poachers continued to fish in the exclusion zone. The content is provided for information purposes only. At what level is radiation totally safe for our body? That's a scenario in which their limited genetic diversity makes it impossible to recover. The latest report by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA) estimates that only between 6 and 22 individuals remained alive in 2018. Northern fishing fleets have had an indirect positive impact mainly on marine mammals, because fishing on predators like sharks reduces its predatory negative impact on those groups. We shouldn't be so pessimistic. [20], Local and international conservation groups, including Museo de Ballena and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, are working with the Mexican Navy to detect fishing in the Refuge Area and remove illegal gillnets. Medical Xpress covers all medical research advances and health news, Tech Xplore covers the latest engineering, electronics and technology advances, Science X Network offers the most comprehensive sci-tech news coverage on the web. There are many reasons Vaquita, and other animals are going extinct. The vaquita (Phocoena sinus), literally "little cow", is a species of porpoise endemic to the northern end of the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez, Vermilion Sea). "The species, even now, is probably perfectly capable of surviving," said Phil Morin, research geneticist at NOAA Fisheries' Southwest Fisheries Science Center and lead author of the new study published this week in Molecular Ecology Resources. The volunteers and crew of Sea Shepherd’s Operation Milagro hail from all around the world. Learn More. [6] Sexual dimorphism is apparent in body size, with mature females being longer than males and having larger heads and wider flippers. The critically endangered vaquita has survived in low numbers in its native Gulf of California for hundreds of thousands of years, a new genetic analysis has found. How many Vaquitas are left in the world in 2020? Pinterest. The study found little sign of inbreeding or other risks often associated with small populations. A … The name comes from the easily recognizable dark circles around the porpoise’s eyes and lips. part may be reproduced without the written permission. One of the world’s most endangered marine animals is a pint-size porpoise known as the vaquita. This document is subject to copyright. Averaging 150 cm (for females) or 140 cm (for males) in length, it is the smallest of all living cetaceans. The information you enter will appear in your e-mail message and is not retained by Phys.org in any form. Vaquita porpoise about to go extinct, researchers warn by Sinikka Tarvainen, Dpa Credit: © Dr Armando Jaramillo-Legorreta The vaquita porpoise, one … Now advanced genetic tools that have emerged with the rapidly increasing power of new computer technology helped them prove the point. The species is also protected under the US Endangered Species Act, the Mexican Official Standard NOM-059 (Norma Oficial Mexicana) , and Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The critically endangered vaquita has survived in low numbers in its native Gulf of California for hundreds of thousands of years, a new genetic analysis has found. [14][15][16], The drastic decline in vaquita abundance is the result of fisheries bycatch in commercial and illegal gillnets, including fisheries targeting the now-endangered totoaba, shrimp, and other available fish species. Experience Vaquita in 3-D. You can unsubscribe at any time and we'll never share your details to third parties. [8], Vaquita habitat is restricted to a small portion of the upper Gulf of California (also called the Sea of Cortez), making this the smallest range of any marine mammal species. Vaquita’s body fades from a dark grey into a white underbelly. The vaquita, the world’s smallest and most endangered cetacean, is found only in Mexico’s northern Gulf of California. Scientists have warned that the vaquita will be lost unless Mexico fully and permanently bans all gillnets in the animal’s habitat and massively steps up enforcement. Their ancestors are thought to have moved north across the equator more than 2.5 million years ago during a period of cooling in the Pleistocene. As these small cetaceans age, their coloring transitions from a dark grey to a light grey. Vaquita porpoises, Phocoena sinus, are found only in the upper area of Mexico’s Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez), a body of water squeezed in between Baja California Peninsula and the Mexican mainland. By Karen Lapizco. The Vaquita is the worlds rarest porpoise and bears a name that means "little cow". The program, which is funded by the Government of Mexico, has been operating since 2016. The new analysis examined living tissue from a vaquita captured as part of a last-ditch international 2017 effort to save the fast-disappearing species. It is imperative that the Mexican government with … The Vaquita Porpoise: A Conservation Emergency The vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus) is considered by most to be the rarest and most-endangered species of marine mammal in the world. By Brianna Maloney / October 26, 2020 October 26, 2020 / Whale Science / Conservation, Toothed whales, vaquita. "In conservation biology, we're always looking for risk. Scientists can identify individual vaquitas based on a single feature. Your feedback will go directly to Science X editors. or, by NOAA Headquarters. "These examples and others indicate that, contrary to the paradigm of an 'extinction vortex' that may doom species with low diversity, some species have persisted with low genomic diversity and small population size," scientists wrote in the new study. [15], Predation on vaquita by sharks has also been reported from fishermen, who have seen whole or parts of individuals in the stomachs of caught sharks however no quantitative analysis is readily available. [4], Vaquitas are generalists, foraging on a variety of demersal fish species, crustaceans, and squids, though benthic fish such as grunts and croakers make up most of the diet. [13] Population abundance as of 2018 was estimated at less than 19 individuals. The study found little sign of inbreeding or other risks often associated with small populations. The vaquita is a small porpoise found only in the northern Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez) in Mexico. The vaquita is most closely related to Burmeister’s porpoise (Phocoena spinipinnis) and less so to the spectacled porpoise (Phocoena dioptrica), two species limited to the Southern Hemisphere. [3][4], The vaquita was first described as a species by two zoologists, Kenneth S. Norris and William N. McFarland, in 1958 after studying the morphology of skull specimens found on the beach. The release of the new vaquita estimate comes just two days after reports of the possible first vaquita mortality of 2019. [12] By 2007 abundance was estimated to have dropped to 150. The vaquita, a tiny marine mammal found in the Gulf of California, is almost extinct. Other species include the narwhal, mountain gorilla, and native foxes in California's Channel Islands. Vaquita means “little cow” in Spanish. The idea that vaquitas could sustain themselves in low numbers is not new. The sight of those three healthy calves in the water with their survivor mothers should inspire the protection they need to truly recover.". Let’s save the vaquita in 2020! The vaquita has been listed as critically endangered since 1996. Last week marked the completion of a collaborative effort aimed at removing abandoned fishing gear from the habitat of the critically endangered vaquita porpoise. Some scientists suspected that more than 20 years ago. Besides … What species are out there in the big blue ocean? WhatsApp. Can you be injected with two different vaccines? The new analysis demonstrates that the species' small numbers do not doom it to extinction, however. The coloration is mostly grey with a darker back and a white ventral field. The US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced today that it will ban imports of Mexican shrimp and other seafood caught in the habitat of the critically endangered vaquita porpoise. [21], To date, efforts have been unsuccessful in solving the complex socioeconomic and environmental issues that affect vaquita conservation and the greater Gulf of California ecosystem. For International Save … The biggest threat to the vaquitas is the illegal fishing of totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi), which, like the vaquita, is classified as a critically endangered species by the IUCN. Vaquita numbers plunged from around 560 animals in the 1990s to only about 10 today due to entanglements in gillnets set to catch shrimp and various species of fish. The most recent field effort in fall 2019 spotted about nine individuals, including three calves, within their core habitat. Six months: That’s how much time Mexico now has to report on its progress to save the critically endangered vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus) from extinction.It’s a time-sensitive deadline. The steep decline in abundance is primarily due to bycatch in gillnets from the illegal totoaba fishery. The vaquita is now on the brink of extinction. By Max Rivlin-Nadler Above: Poachers on a panga boat on the Sea of Cortez, taken from Sea Shepherd video cameras on Saturday February 8th, 2020.
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