The most critically endangered marine mammal on earth, the tiny vaquita porpoise is facing the possibility of extinction due to illegal fishing practices in the Sea of Cortez. Found only in the northern portion of the Sea of Cortez, the tiny vaquita is the smallest cetacean in the world. Estimates indicate there may be as few as 60 individuals remaining. Nicknamed the “panda of the sea” for their distinctive facial markings, these small porpoises reach lengths of up to 55 inches. Unfortunately, the population is in decline (with some estimates of extinction possible within 5 years) due to illegal gillnet fishing in the Sea of Cortez. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is working closely with the Mexican government in a direct action campaign to protect these charismatic creatures from destruction. The campaign, titled Milagro (“milagro” means “miracle” in Spanish) includes actively patrolling for poachers and gathering crucial scientific data.
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