Don't Let the Last Eight Vaquita Die From Becoming Tangled in Fishing Gear!

  • by: Care2 Team
  • recipient: Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)

Vaquita means "little cow" in Spanish, and it's the name for the smallest porpoises on earth. These remarkable creatures are also the rarest mammals that live in the sea – they can only be found in one place: Mexico's Gulf of California. But their rarity does not just make them a source of wonder and awe – it's placed them on their very edge of extinction. It is estimated that there are only eight left!  And a recent move from an international body meant to protect endangered species may actually put those few vaquita in even more danger. 

Sign now to demand that the last remaining vaquita be protected!

The Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) voted to permit Earth Ocean farms to participate in the captive-bred trade of totoaba fish. Yet with captive-bred totoaba trade and farming comes the illegal wild-caught totoaba trade, and this wildlife trafficking industry uses gillnets which entangle and kill vaquita. Gillnets can be indiscriminate, picking up all sorts of different sea creatures far beyond what was intended. And the use of gillnets illegally in Mexico has put the curious, small porpoises on the literal brink of extinction.

Cousins of the dolphin, vaquita are the single most endangered species in the world. Known for their silly, pig-like noises and friendly eyes, vaquita are shy and typically live around twenty years. But gillnets kill vaquita of all ages, young and old. While it may seem that farming of captive totoaba would have nothing to do with wild vaquita out at sea, this legal form of totoaba production has historically led to dramatic increases in illegal totoaba fishing – thus increasing the risk to vaquita that get caught in the crossfire.

We cannot give up on the vaquita, and we must act now to save them. We must put pressure on the Standing Committee of CITES to retroactively deny the permit offered to Earth Ocean farms, with the knowledge that expanded totoaba farming puts vaquita in danger. Every single vaquita life counts – and even a single loss could result in total extinction of the species. Sign the petition now to tell international trade authorities that vaquitas matter, and we will not stand by and watch them go extinct!

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