The Vaquita is a small porpoise with a huge problem. The species that is endemic to the Gulf of California is very close to being extinct. At the moment, there are only 60 individuals, which is a huge drop (92%) from 1997, when a major survey was conducted to understand the species.
Mexico is one of the countries that can help with preservation of the vaquita. If that doesn’t happen, some experts believe the species may be extinct by 2022.
The problem with the species is they get tangled in the fill nets that are used for fishing totoaba, another critically endangered animal that is used as an ingredient in a soup in China.
In the past few years, the Mexican government has introduced regulations to keep the territory where the vaquita swims nets-free. However, the measurements haven’t been as successful as people expected.
The documentary Souls of the Vermilion Sea explores the struggle to save the species from extinction. The documentary focuses on the Ocean Starr boat, one that was used for a survey in the fall of 2015.
Vaquitas live up to 20 years in ideal condition, and they mature sexually at 3 to 6 years old. Reproduction occurs in early summer or late spring with a gestation period of 10 months. If they are not kept safe and allowed to reproduce, the species might be soon gone.