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I bet you have never heard of the Vaquita - there are less than 100 left.

(10 Posts)
Elegran Thu 09-Oct-14 16:22:54

There are many endangered species, and some get more column inches that others. We hear much about pandas but here is another animal in even more danger of extinction.

The Baiji Yangtze dolphin has been finally declared extinct after declining steadily. The next on the list of marine mammals to vanish will be the little Vaquita. There are less than 100 left, and their only habitat is at the inner end of the Gulf of California. This vaquita website has a documentary about them

They get caught in the fine mesh of the fishermen's gill nets. Grants to the fishermen to replace their gill nets have not worked - the next hopeful plan is to persuade them to replace their gill nets with a new design of dolphin-friendly net. Time is running out.

Anya Thu 09-Oct-14 17:20:42


Grannyknot Thu 09-Oct-14 17:22:21

sad sad

Agus Thu 09-Oct-14 17:37:30

A very sad situation when people have to be persuaded to stop the decline of this species. I do hope they acknowledge that there is a solution and take steps to implement it.

Elegran Thu 09-Oct-14 17:48:13

One of the videos on the site was optimistic about replacing the nets - one fishrerman interviewed said he had caught more fish with it than with the old one, that may encourage the others.

It may still be too late. The size of the population is getting too small to be viable.

Then there are whales - if you were asked to name types of whales, you probably would not come up with the North Atlantic right whale. It is struggling too, despite coming back from the brink.

North Atlantic right whale

annodomini Thu 09-Oct-14 17:59:58

The same thing is happening to the smallest of all dolphins, Hector's Dolphin, a native of the waters round New Zealand.
Here's a link to a petition to the NZ government

thatbags Thu 09-Oct-14 20:08:51

Here is a link I find useful when thinking about species extinction. It points out that 99% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct and it describes how life recovers from mass extinction events, of which there have been many since the dawn of Life on planet Earth. It is said that a mass extinction event is happening now. My views about this are coloured by the facts that there have been many already and that Life has always recovered and new species have evolved. For me, this adds an encouraging perspective to what might otherwise be dismal news.

ginggran Thu 09-Oct-14 20:43:19


MiceElf Thu 09-Oct-14 20:44:23

That's an interesting perspective, Bags. I think what many people find sad or regrettable is that some wonderful creatures will cease to exist and that that extinction is a loss to humanity who will no longer be able to appreciate its forms and uniqueness.

But then, it seems it only applies to beautiful or strange or extraordinary life forms.

I don't think many would mourn the loss of a species of slug or a insect injecting deadly poison.

I suppose the regret is when the loss is due to human activity rather than, for example, a meteorite event.

thatbags Thu 09-Oct-14 20:50:55

Extinctions are often caused by competition from other species. Human activity is just that: species competitiveness. It is part of the rich tapestry of life that we happen (at the moment) to be a dominant and very successfully competitive species, just as others have been in the past. I agree that we should do our best not to cause extinctions by carelessness and I also agree that we tend to get emotional about the pretty species and don't give a damn about the nastier ones. Who would really care if malaria-causing mosquitos went extinct?