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Sightings of vaquita renew hope for their survival

By Tribune Travel

June 09, 2023

Vaquita sightings, including those of mothers and their young, are documented in the Upper Gulf of California, giving the endemic species new hope for preservation.

The Upper Gulf of California and Colorado River Delta Biosphere Reserve, more specifically, the Zero Tolerance Zone of the Upper Gulf of California, was the site of the Vaquita Observation Cruise 2023, which was conducted from May 10 to 27, according to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) and the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP).

The evidence gathered during the cruise was examined by experts, who used the “Expert Elicitation” method to record a total of 61 acoustic detections and 16 sightings of vaquita.

These discoveries have given this endemic species new hope for conservation.

It is predicted that there is a 76% chance that there were between 10 and 13 animals in total, including one or two calves. Due to the dire circumstances facing the vaquita, one of the most endangered species in the world, these sightings are especially significant.

The vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus) is a species of porpoise unique to the Upper Gulf of California in Mexico . Threats like illegal totoaba fishing and bycatch from gillnets have caused its population to drastically decline in recent years.

The establishment of the Zero Tolerance Zone, where all forms of fishing are prohibited, as well as monitoring initiatives and actions to lessen bycatch in fishing nets, are just a few of the steps taken to protect the vaquita.





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