The vaquita, which is the world’s most endangered Marien mammal, has seen another decrease in total population according to a new report.
The report, titled, the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA), has outlined that there are just 10 remaining vaquita left on the planet leaving a very grim outlook for the future of the small mammals.
Vaquita only live in the Gulf of California, which lies between mainland Mexico on the east and Baja California on the west. The animal is Earth’s smallest cetacean and have seen numbers rapidly decrease in the last few centuries due to commercial fishing. The vaquita’s demise is due to another species of marine life that shares the same habitat, the totoaba fish. The totoaba, which are critically endangered themselves, are illegal caught using gillnets that are extremely destructive to all marine wildlife. The fishermen want the totoaba for the swim bladders which can go for $46,000 per kilogram in China . The swim bladders are believed to have medicinal purposes.
The report urges Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to take immediate action to protect the last remaining vaquita.
The report writes, “Given the gravity of the current situation, we are writing to request you take immediate action to save the vaquita species from extinction. The vaquita is on the edge of extinction and unless action is taken now, the species will be lost within a few months or years during your administration. We emphasize that the only remaining hope for the vaquita is to eliminate all gillnet fishing in the area where the last few vaquitas remain,” the researchers write.
Earlier this month, the illegal gillnets claimed their first victim of 2019, as Sea Shepherd found a vaquita ensnared in a net inside the supposed Vaquita Refuge.
The researchers did outline that all hope is not lost. “Vaquitas are still producing calves, and the remaining animals are healthy.” Now, if this species is to continue their existence, the Mexican government must step up and do all they can to end the gillnet fishing of the totoaba. The outcome for the vaquita may be foreshadowing the future of many other marine species going forward as more and more species will also face a similar face due to humans. It will all depend if governments choose conservation or profit.