The World's Smallest Porpoise and Most Endangered Marine Mammal
The vaquita is a porpoise
The Vaquita is a porpoise, not a dolphin! Contrary to dolphins, porpoises have shorter "noses", spade-shaped teeth, and smaller more round bodies. These adaptations help them to survive and thrive in their own environments which often times vary from those of dolphins. The two can often be found in close proximity as well.
Other Fun Facts
Vaquita's do not perform aerial tricks like their cetacean counter-parts
The first reliable population estimate for Vaquitas was 567 individuals in 1997
Like other toothed whales, a Vaquita’s teeth are designed to capture and tear at prey; rather than chewing, they must swallow their meals whole
Most Vaquita bycatch is the result of the illegal totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi) fishery in the Northern Gulf of California
Dried totoaba swim bladders are shipped to China for use in a soup called fish maw, which is incorrectly believed to boost fertility and have other medicinal properties
Like many other aquatic animals, Vaquitas are fusiform (tapered at both ends)—this torpedolike shape lets a vaquita swim more easily through the water
Vaquitas live about a four hour drive from Tucson, AZ, a four-and-a-half hour drive from San Diego, CA, a six-hour drive from Los Angeles, CA.
Why are they important?
The Vaquita serves as an ambassador for ocean conservation. By spreading awareness about the Vaquita, we spread the message of conservation. If we promote sustainable actions the impact of humans upon our environment lessens, and the need to fight for conservation of the Vaquita, and other species around the world is more likely to be successful. These simple actions start with YOU, so how will YOU choose to save the Vaquita?
The Vaquita was first named by scientist in 1958, and since then not much has been able to be uncovered about the species due to their mysterious nature. There have only been 65 confirmed sightings of the marine mammal from 1958 to now, which is larger than the actual number of Vaquita's still in existence!