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Vaquita extinction imminent, last 30 to be removed from wild

By Jen Krausz, newsmax.com

158 days ago   Article ID# 4169527
Original URL

 

World Wildlife Fund

WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA (newsmax.com) - The extinction of the vaquita, small porpoises found only in the Gulf of California off the coast of Mexico, may be imminent if action is not taken to save the small remaining number from being killed or dying off.

The vaquita population was cut in half from about 60 to about 30 from 2015 to 2016, according to NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center, PBS reported. The porpoises seem to be getting caught in gill nets that are being used to fish for totoaba, another endangered fish, the bladder of which has become very valuable.

The NOAA, WWF, and The International Committee for Vaquita Recovery have decided to try to remove the remaining vaquita from the wild and help them to breed and increase their numbers. Since no one has ever handled a vaquita before, scientists are unsure how the porpoise will react and whether they will do well in captivity. Some types of porpoises do very well in captivity, while others don’t.

Vaquita like to swim in shallower water close to shore, although they avoid boats when they approach, according to the World Wildlife Fund. They are gray with long white markings and have a dark ring around their eyes.

Mexico made gill nets illegal in 2015, but NOAA patrols have still found hundreds of gill nets since the ban took effect. They also have found many dead vaquita in the nets, including five more in the last month, PBS reported.

Mexico has been working on developing other ways of catching fish that would not endanger the porpoises, but has not succeeded so far. The current gill net ban is set to expire May 31.

Copyright 2017 newsmax.com   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 158 days ago   Article ID# 4169527

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