The American Cetacean Society Oregon Chapter will be hosting International Save the Vaquita Day at two venues in Newport, OR on Saturday, July 6, 2019. We will be at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, 2820 SE Ferry Slip Road, from 10 AM – 4 PM. This event is included in your aquarium admission. We will also be at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, 2030 S. Marine Science Drive, from 10 AM – 4 PM. The Science Center is admission by donation, with a suggested donation of $5.00 per person or $20.00 per family.
The primary goal of this event is to make as many people as possible aware of the vaquita and its plight, and spur them to act to help save the species. The vaquita is nearly extinct, and may not last even another year. The is one of only seven species of porpoises, members of the mammalian group called cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), which are among the most beloved of all animals on Earth! The vaquita (Phocoena sinus) is a small species of porpoise that lives only in the upper Gulf of California, in northern Mexico, just south of the border with the United States. The species’ numbers have dropped, from about 567 in 1997 to less than 22 in mid-2018, a reduction of more than 95% in just 21 years! They are the most endangered marine mammal species on the planet, and they are heading towards extinction in the next year or two if radical changes are not made right away.
These cute, little mammals are being decimated by catches in gillnets. The nets are now illegal within the range of the vaquita, but demand for fish swim bladders in China is driving an illegal fishery, which involves clandestine night-time operations, cross-border smuggling, and even participation of Mexican drug cartels. Vaquitas are extremely rare and shy, so few photos of them exist. They are unlike any other species of dolphin or porpoise, with black eye rings, and dark lip patches.
Information provided by ACS