Vaquita or Gulf Of California Harbor Porpoise

Vaquita or Gulf Of California Harbor Porpoise

Harbor Porpoise

IUCN red list classification as critically endangered

Scientific Name: Phocoena sinus
English name: Vaquita or Gulf Of California Porpoise
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mammalia
Class: Chordata
Order: Cetartiodactyla
Family: Phocoenidae

Link to Red List page: vaquita or Gulf Of California Harbor Porpoise in the red list 


The vaquita habitat is small. She lives along the coast only.

Usually, she lives in shallow waters being endemic to the place.


She’s small in dimensions, can reach 150 cm length and a weight around 50 kg.

Where to find:

In the Gulf of California only, is endemic to this place.


The vaquita studies are small. Because small is even the number of specimens remained. So we Don’t know a lot about this animal.

She is very reserved and she doesn’t like boats. Generally, she doesn’t like the other presence of humans.

Even is behavior when she swims is discrete. The vaquita appears a little bit only for breath, and she goes underwater immediately. Just the characteristic sound you can hear.
Something more we can know about the actual situation through the Sea Shepherd Operation Milagro. Sea Shepherd is present in the gulf. With her ships and works in collaboration with Mexican Govern.

Their operation showed another issue connect with the vaquita because afflict the same habitat.

The totoba fish is caught because of his swim bladder. Actually, the adult population of vaquita is less than 20 animals. It is classified by the red list IUCN Critically Endangered. Next step is the extinction. And we need to remember the extinction is forever.
The effort of Sea Shepherd Operation Milagro is limiting the decline of vaquita population. At the moment poachers have shot down one drone. The battle is becoming harder but the guys of the crew are strong and determined to save this beautiful animal. You can help them, visit the Sea Shepherd site and if you can help with a donation.

Major risk:

The first threat is in gillnets that local fisherman use. But there are even more issues. One is connected to the small number remained.

It creates a problem of inbreeding in reproduction. So the new calves are more vulnerable. Need to remember that is not a migratory animal, is endemic to the Gulf.

Then there is the ecological impact. Climate change reduced the fresh water flush, from Colorado River. Consequently, the concentration of pesticide and other pollution is very hight.  It has a big impact on the vaquita environment.
Actually, in 2018 the adult population they think is less than 20 animals.

Gulf Of California Harbor Porpoise

Operation Milagro IV by Sea Shepherd

 Sea Shepherd Operation Milagro IV

Operation Milagro IV

Hence even this year we share the Sea Shepherd video. This video explains the Operation Milagro. It is a campaign against the poaching in Mexico’s Sea of Cortes.

For the fourth consecutive year, Sea Shepherd is in the forefront. The battle against of illegal fishing is on.  For to understand the dimension of the issue is necessary some numbers.

Over the past three years, Sea Shepherd has made lots of progress in the Gulf of California. During Operation Milagro III alone, Sea Shepherd removed 233 illegal fishing gear. 1195 entangled dead animals. Including shark, dolphins, whales, turtles and sea lions – and released 795 live ones.

Five dead vaquitas were discovered by Sea Shepherd during this campaign. Their deaths were because of being caught in gillnets set up by poachers. ( source Sea Shepherd )

The incredible misfortune of vaquita

Like the video shows the gillnets beyond to be illegal capture and kill a lot of fish and mammals. Someone of this fish, thank the activist’s effort can be safe. But why all this indiscriminate fishing?

Just because the human is crazy as usual. There is a big fish and the name is Totoba, it is a bass. The swim bladder of totoba has his market in China as traditional medicine!! The swim bladder will go on the black market in China. It is known as aquatic cocaine.

So the poachers use nets for to capture totoba. But in the same net will die vaquita and many other aquatic animals.


Sea Shepherd and Mexican Government

It is a very hard challenge. It is possible just because the joined effort between Sea Shepherd activist and the Mexican government. The operations are very risky. Because the actors involved are local fisherman poachers, criminal organizations, and sometimes even drug traffickers.

In the operations, once they localize a boat of illegal fisherman they call the navy. The operation is difficult and the risk is very high. Around two months ago a drone has been shot down by the poachers.

Most noteworthy all the Sea Shepherd operations are in collaboration with the local Authorities.

In conclusion, will follow operation Milagro IV. We love the totoba and vaquita and we want to support Sea Shephard in Operation Milagro.

If even you want to help Sea Shepherd you need to know you don’t need to become “Pirate”. The guys of sea shepherd are fantastic and they do an incredible job.

You can help just with a donation, it is an important contribution. You can donate on their official site, Sea Shepherd.


The wild blog.