Urgent: Vaquita are on the verge of going extinct

  • by: WWF
  • target: President Peña Nieto
Right now, the little vaquita – the world's most rare marine mammal – is on the brink of extinction.

Two years ago, the Mexican government implemented a temporary gillnet ban to save the vaquita. This ban is due to expire on May 31.

Mexico's Gulf of California, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the only place in the world where this small and rare porpoise lives. However, despite the protected status of these waters, vaquita are often caught and drowned in gillnets used by illegal fishing operations.

A recent survey estimates that vaquita numbers are as low as just 30 individuals. That's half of what the vaquita population was last year. Unless we take action now, these animals could easily disappear forever.

In the past, Mexico's President Peña Nieto has been a champion of the vaquita – now we need him to step up and take action. To protect the Gulf of California and these animals, Nieto must institute a permanent gillnet ban and work with local communities to institute sustainable fisheries management, including the adoption of gillnet alternatives.

As a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Gulf of California and the threatened vaquita that call it home are our shared heritage. It's up to people from around the world to call for their protection.

With so few vaquita left every minute counts. Will you sign the petition and urge President Nieto to take the urgent steps necessary to protect the Gulf of California World Heritage site and the critically endangered vaquita?
Dear President Peña Nieto,

I encourage you to take immediate action to secure long-term protection of the Gulf of California World Heritage site, home of the last vaquita, as a positive legacy of your leadership.

The Gulf of California is our shared heritage. Please save:

Rare Wildlife. The upper Gulf of California is the only place where vaquita live. You have been a champion of the species in the past. To prevent the vaquita's extinction and protect this extraordinary ecosystem, the following urgent actions are needed:

  • A permanent gillnet ban

  • Development of fishing alternatives and effective enforcement to halt illegal gillnet fishing (because vaquita are also caught as bycatch)

  • Stopping the illegal totoaba trade from Mexico to China

Local Livelihoods. Support for local fishing communities is key to saving the vaquita. Due to lack of enforcement, illegal and unsustainable fishing is decimating the Gulf's once-thriving waters and putting people's livelihoods at risk. It is critical to work with local communities for sustainable fisheries management, including the adoption of gillnet alternatives.

The Environment. The Gulf of California is home to a spectacular array of wildlife, including the vaquita – the world's most endangered marine mammal. Unless the threats leading to the critical decline in the vaquita population are removed, the Gulf of California could be placed on UNESCO's List of World Heritage in Danger. And the world will forever lose this species.

[Your Comment]

As a champion of the Gulf of California and vaquita, I urge you to take action now.


[Your Name]
Update #25 months ago
On June 7, thanks to more than 200,000 WWF activists just like you, President Peña Nieto committed to enforcing a permanent ban on gillnets in the Upper Gulf of California. This is great news, but we are not done yet. We must ensure President Nieto follows through. Will you take the next step for vaquita? http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/668/636/574/
Update #15 months ago
UPDATE: The Mexican government announced an extension of a temporary ban on gillnets in the Upper Gulf of California, which gives the vaquita more time. However, the species still remains under threat. We're calling on the Mexican government to institute a permanent ban and support the use of alternative fishing gear, among other conservation measures.
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