What to Know
- The campaign seeks to protect the fewer than 30 remaining porpoises.
- Zoos and aquariums will encourage guests to complete postcards to be collected and delivered to the Mexican consulate in San Diego.
- Illegal fishing practices have decimated the population.
The Living Desert announced Monday it has joined with zoos and aquariums across the country in a campaign to encourage newly seated Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to continue his country's initiatives to save the vaquita, the world's most endangered marine mammal.
The “1 Million Cards” postcard-writing campaign was launched to urge Obrador to continue Mexico's efforts to preserve the vaquita, which is only found in Baja's Upper Gulf of California.
Led by Vaquita SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction), the campaign seeks to protect the fewer than 30 remaining porpoises that are in danger of becoming the inadvertent targets of illegal fishing practices, which include the use of gill nets.
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“We are at the most critical point in the vaquita porpoise's conservation history,” said Dave Bader, AZA Vaquita SAFE lead and director of education at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. “Right now, there are very few vaquitas left. We have an opportunity to protect them, but we can only do that with the continued support of the Mexican government.”
Participating zoos and aquariums will encourage guests to complete postcards to be collected and delivered to the Mexican consulate in San Diego at the end of this month.
In addition to preserving the vaquita, Vaquita SAFE says its long-term goal of a sustainable seafood market sourced from the Upper Gulf will benefit the local economy and other wildlife in the area.
“The most crucial action that we can take is to create a sustainable seafood industry, with product sourced from the Upper Gulf of California,” said James Danoff-Burg, the Living Desert's director of conservation. “It is the only way to save the vaquita and the hundreds of other species and the three fishing communities in this area.”