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Daily News Analysis

Vaquita

8th July, 2024 Environment

Vaquita

Source: NDTV

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Context

  • Vaquita porpoises are thus near threatened, and number between 6-8 in the wild in the Gulf of California in Mexico and are threatened with fishery related extinction.

Details

About Vaquita:

  • Endangered Status:
    • The Vaquita is an endangered species of a porpoise which means today there are no more than 10 of them left.
  • Discovery and Habitat:
    • Vaquita is very rare and was discovered only in 1958; found only in the Gulf of California, Mexico; typical habitat includes near-shore and relatively shallow waters.
  • Physical Characteristics:
    • Characterized by the black rings around a given fish’s eyes, black blotch on the lips, dark grey on the dorsal side, pale ash colour on the sides and white on the ventral side.
    • Newborns are darker and have a uniform wide grey rim around the back and from the head until the flukes.
  • Threats:
    • The major cause of mortality is drowning in gillnets which are employed by poachers in protected waters of MPA’s.
  • Population Decline:
    • The population drastically decreased from hundreds to around 10 in the recent years.
  • Conservation Efforts:
    • Measures of conservation are Mandatory emphasizing the prohibition of gillnet fishing that is illegal.
  • Ecological Significance:
    • Stands for other general threats that occur to cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) in the world.
  • Urgency:
    • Conservation measures need to be taken now and to the letter to stop the killing of the vaquita.

Sources:

NDTV

PRACTICE QUESTION

Q. The vaquita is a critically endangered marine mammal found in:

(a) Indian Ocean

(b) Arctic Ocean

(c) Atlantic Ocean

(d) Gulf of California, Mexico

Answer: (d)