There is an extremely secretive marine animal that lives in the northern Gulf of California that many people aren’t even aware of.
However, according to recent studies, there are just less than 10 of these magnificent animals surviving in the world. Meet the vaquita porpoise, everyone. the world’s rarest sea animal!
The Phocoena sinus, or commonly know as the vaquita, is a tiny porpoise that lives in the Gulf of California. These secretive marine creatures can grow up to 5 feet long and weigh up to 120 pounds. For many years, the species was listed as endangered, but over the last two decades or so, their population has drastically declined.
There were around 600 vaquitas in 1997, but sadly their numbers went down to less than 30 in roughly 20 years. Now, these gorgeous creatures are on the edge of extinction with around 10 left in existence!
Vaquita, which means “little cow” in Spanish, looks more like a panda though. They were even nick-named sea pandas, due to their black color around the eyes. That’s what makes them so special and unique, besides the fact of being the only porpoise able to live in warm waters.
It's #EndangeredSpeciesDay : a reminder that there are too many species that fit the definition of 'endangered'. The vaquita is the smallest and most endangered cetacean with as few as 10 individuals left. We work to help species like the vaquita; they give us porpoise. pic.twitter.com/4wuiWIb8WB
— The Carmichael Lab – Dauphin Island Sea Lab (@CarmichaelLab) May 21, 2022
The problem with vaquitas differs from other animal species whose extinction or threat from extinction was caused by hunting. The destructive demise of the species was caused by fishing methods!
As it turned out, the Mexican fishermen are using gill nets, mostly to catch the totoaba – which is also an endangered fish species. This fish is a delicacy in China where it can reach up to $ 50,000. So these gill nets, are a deadly trap not just for the totoaba, but for the vaquitas too.
Even although, both using these type of nets as well as the totoaba fishing are forbidden in Mexico, some local fishermen continue these practices.
Let’s all hope that these stunning creature will be eventually saved! In the video below you can watch some very rare sightings of these mystical creatures!