Yikes! There are less than 60 vaquitas left on the planet!
In case you didn’t know…
They are the world’s smallest cetaceans (dolphins, porpoises, whales). They’re also the most endangered marine mammal on the planet.
But not all is lost, though. They’re cousins, the bottlenose dolphins, are coming to the rescue!
Let’s take a firsthand look at how navy-trained bottlenose dolphins may save the vaquita.
But first of all…
Fishermen use ‘gillnets’ to catch the totoaba fish.
These totoaba ‘gillnets’, which are banned, happen to also catch the vaquita dolphin.
The problem is this: the swim bladder of the totoaba fish can be sold for 7,000 USD to 14,000 USD on the blackmarket. Some even call it “aquatic cocaine”.
Why is this swim bladder so valuable in China?
The totoaba is endangered as well. This, and vaquita protection efforts, have made fishing the totoaba illegal.
When you pair this fact with the strong demand, you’ve created the perfect recipe for illegal trade. What you have is…
Ultimate it comes down to this sad truth…
There’s A LOT more money in killing the totoaba—and the vaquita—than there is in protecting them.
The U.S. Navy trains bottlenose dolphins to use their ability to dive deep and use sonar, to locate mines and other objects. In this case, the vaquita.
Here’s the plan.
There, they would be free from gillnets and have the protection to reproduce to safe numbers.
At least…in theory.
Other experts say the rescue mission is too risky. The remaining female vaquitas could die, guaranteeing their extinction.
…there may be no choice in the matter as no better rescue alternative exists.
The navy-trained bottlenose dolphins will start their rescue mission sometime this spring.
The vaquita wasn’t officially discovered until 1950!
Scientists didn’t see one live until 1985!
As mentioned earlier, the vaquita(meaning small cow in Spanish) is the smallest cetacean.
Its dimensions are…
It has small dark rings around its eyes and mouth.
That was our How Navy-Trained Bottlenose Dolphins May Save the Vaquita article. How did we do?
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