AZA SAFE: Vaquita Letter

Photo credit Paula Olson, permit Oficio No. DR/488/08 from the Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT)


According to a recent report by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA), only about 60 vaquitas (phocoena sinus) remaining in the upper Gulf of California, making this small porpoise is the most endangered marine mammal on the planet.

The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and its 233 members identified the vaquita as one of 10 signature species that are part of the AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction program. That means the AZA community is focusing expertise and resources on identified projects to help save the vaquita from extinction.

We know we can’t do it alone, however. We need the Mexican government to permanently ban the use of gillnets in the Gulf of California, and to increase enforcement against illegal fishing. The Mexican government has taken action to protect the critically endangered vaquita with a temporary, two-year gillnet ban. The local fishermen have been doing their part, too, and we are doing what we can to help them find alternative fishing gear. But we need a permanent ban on gillnets – and greater enforcement against illegal fishing – if we have any hope of saving the “little cow.”

You can help! Sign our letter to U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson to let the Ambassador know we are behind her and support her doing what she can to encourage Mexican government officials to permanently ban the use of gillnets in the Gulf of California.

You can stay up to date on what AZA and its members are doing to help save the vaquita from extinction by regularly visiting our website.

Thank you for your support!

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