Vaquita or Gulf Of California Harbor Porpoise

Vaquita or Gulf Of California Harbor Porpoise

Harbor Porpoise

IUCN Critically endangered
IUCN Critically endangered classified

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 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 the 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

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