Viva Vaquita Voyage
Cetacean Twitchers and
Whale- & Dolphin lovers
ALERT ALERT ALERT !!!
The Vaquita is one of the World’s smallest cetaceans, and it is probably the most endangered. This porpoise has always had an extremely restricted range, and within that range, it is now disappearing. Numbers have plummeted, rapidly lately, there might be <100 animals left alive.
With the intention of combining an opportunity for anyone who wants to see Vaquita to have a stab at it, with contributing to the desperate conservation efforts to save the species from oblivion, I wish to organize a trip to the upper reaches of the Gulf of California.
This is a first letter to reach out to the community to investigate the interest. Please come back to me with your contact information if you wish to be kept updated. You will not at this stage be committing yourself to anything. Please distribute this email to anyone in your networks that you believe could have an interest in it.
The plans will be to find the best possible recipe for maximizing the chances of seeing a live Vaquita. This involves decisions regarding time of year, length of trip, mode of transportation, as well as accommodation and other logistics, and of course pricing. If you have any input into these matters, please let me know.
No matter how this trip in the end pans out, the chances of success are very limited. Sadly, the porpoise is vanishing, and even before numbers dropped, it was a tough one to spot, it being small, quiet, shy and unobtrusive by nature. But hey – one thing is given: If you don’t go there and try to see it, you definitely won’t see it. Another given is that if we don’t all chip in to contribute to the safekeeping of the species, it will soon be gone. And then there is the consideration of course, that perhaps in life everything is not always about reaching an end goal, but as much about the journey towards it.
Tentatively, I imagine a trip built around the following concept:
- Duration perhaps at least 2 weeks. A sighting of the species is only likely if considerable time and effort is made to see it, spending many hours total scanning the surface of the sea during windless days.
- Platform/vehicle either a live-aboard boat (if any such can be accessed), which would allow our group to be staying on the water for the duration of the trip and perhaps searching a wider range. Alternatively a local, smaller, fisherman’s boat, departing on a day-to-day basis from shore in the mornings and returning in the evenings. This would allow the group to scan the best areas repeatedly, and to be comfortably lodged etc. on shore during potential bad-weather days. The cost of this latter solution would probably be lower. Group size would in the end depend on the vehicle(s) available, but also on interest.
- A considerable amount of money would be added onto the de facto costs of arranging the tour, to ensure a substantial contribution to conservation efforts. In other words, this trip would not be for anyone who ONLY wishes to see a Vaquita at as low a cost as possible, but would cater to those who would also be willing to and interested in donating towards the efforts to conserve the species. Whether the money is given to locals to encourage their participation in conservation, to scientists to assist them in their research into how Vaquita can be saved, or to PR persons who are raising awareness about the plight of the Vaquita, or a combination of the above, will be determined at a later stage. Again, input is welcomed.
If you wish to make an effort to see a Vaquita, or to contribute to conservation efforts to save Vaquita, or both, please give me what details you can in an email regarding your availability, limitations, willingness/dedication to commit to participation, to contributing, and any logitsitcal advice/contacts etc you might have. The more I hear from you, in a non-committal fashion, the better I can further the plans to make this trip happen.
There are already initiatives – have been for years – to find solutions to prevent this animal from disappearing. One of the latest is described in the following Kickstarter campaign https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/157422504/souls-of-the-vermilion-sea. I am collaborating with the people behind this campaign in my efforts to set up a Viva Vaquita Voyage. Regardless whether you are interested in the voyage, I strongly encourage anyone of you to contribute to this campaign.
In the latest update from the campaign, it is noted that any contributions made before the end of Friday the 19th of June will be matched by a donor.
If you give $10, you are giving $20! If you give $100, you are giving $200!!!
All help is needed, all help helps, and together we might all be able to make a difference.
Thank you for your attention.
Morten Joergensen – firstname.lastname@example.org