The Vaquita, a member of the porpoise family, is a critically endangered species found off the coast of the Gulf of California in Baja California and San Felipe. According to the NOAA, the Vaquita’s diet comprises squid, octopus, and small crustaceans like shrimp.
This smaller member of the porpoise family is the only one of its kind to make its home in warmer waters like the Gulf of San Felipe. The Vaquita has a smaller dorsal fin than its larger counterparts and is the smallest of its kind.
Researchers believe the Vaquita’s smaller fin is an adaptation to allow for heat dispersal in warmer waters. Vaquitas have a gestation period of about 11 months, with the females giving birth approximately every 2 years.
This critically endangered species is almost completely extinct due to overfishing and illegal fishing for highly coveted totoaba fish in the area. There are currently only about 10 Vaquitas known to be living in the area of the Gulf of California. This is a population decline of nearly 100%.
We believe the cause of the extinction of the Vaquita to be related to illegal fishing in and around the Sea of Cortez, where they are normally found. There is currently a push by some activists and conservationists to preserve this rapidly dying species.
The World Wildlife Association lists Vaquitas as the most endangered of becoming extinct on its endangered species list along with other animals like the Hawksbill turtle and the orangutan.