Sunday, March 7, 2010

Vaquita - One of the Rarest Animals on Earth

If you ever get a glimpse of a vaquita, you will have the honor of reporting the 66th sighting of a live vaquita ever!  That's right, to date only 65 confirmed sightings of vaquita have ever been reported.  Despite its critically endangered status, the vaquita is very easy going, taking its time swimming and even eating.  If you see a large vaquita, chances are its female and not male, since female vaquitas are larger than male vaquitas. 

Vaquitas live close to shore in shallow lagoons where there is a strong tidal pool mix, meaning lots of choices for dinner, but vaquitas are not picky eaters. 

Vaquitas are elusive creatures and are shy of boats.  If you have never heard of a vaquita, it may be because these shy creatures also go by other aliases including cochito and gulf porpoise.  These shy creatures are also the smallest marine cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises) on earth!

Why One of the Rarest Animals on Earth Needs Our Help
Becuase it is one of the rarest animals on earth with an estimated  population of only 150 vaquitas remaining.  Vaquitas are only found in the Gulf of California in Mexico and have the most limited habitat of any cetacean.  The biggest threat to vaquitas is being caught as by catch in commercial fishing operations where they became entangled in fishing line and drown.  The government of Mexico is working to remove all gill nets from the vaquita habitat and to buy out affected fishermen.  Vaquitas habitat has also changed dramatically with the damming of the Colarado River in the U.S. which had a negative impact on the vaquita.  Sources:  Animal Info -Vaquita, Expedition Vaquita, Animal Bytes - VaquitaSee a video of a vaquita.   

Help Save One of the Rarest Animals on Earth - The Vaquita
Vaquita photo courtesy of:  SavetheVaquita