The Vaquita, a small porpoise that lives off the coast of Mexico, could be the latest animal to go extinct, although there is some hope.
As of the last survey conducted in 2019, only 10 were left in the wild. The only cause for their decimation is illegal fishing using gill nets.
The nets, which run from the surface to a depth of 6m/20ft and stretch for hundreds of meters, are devastating the Vaquita population as the animals are trapped in them and drown. The latest survey, which is yet to be published, shows that the animals are teetering on the verge of extinction, but if gill nets were removed from their territory, they would be able to make a recovery.
Vaquitas are falling victim to the pressures of local fishermen, with the only viable solution involving supporting the local fishing communities to find alternative ways to fish and earn a living.
According to Jorge Urbán Ramírez, a biologist who is in charge of the marine mammal research program at the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur:
“They’re going extinct because of human activities, even though it could be avoided… It’s not a priority.”