New Podcast Episode: The Vaquita, with Barbara Taylor & Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho

The past few weeks have been all about cetaceans for me and this continues with the latest episode of the mammalwatching podcast. Charles and I talk to Dr Barbara Taylor (USA) and Dr Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho (Mexico), who together lead the global efforts to save the Vaquita from extinction.

Vaquitas, a tiny and beautiful porpoise, are found only at the top of the Gulf of California and hold the unfortunate distinction of being the world’s rarest marine mammal (possibly the rarest mammal species period). There may be as few as 6 animals left alive.

The story of the Vaquita’s precipitous decline from its discovery in 1958 is tragic and complex. In a fascinating conversation we learn about the Vaquita’s biology and how gillnetting has driven the species to the very edge of extinction. We also discuss why illegal fishing – fueled by organized crime and a demand in East Asia for the swim bladder of the Totoaba fish – is so difficult to prevent. But Barb and Lorenzo offer some optimism for the future: there may be more Vaquitas hiding in the Gulf of California and it is not to late to save the species.

As always you can stream the episode here or find it on Spotify, Apple or other podcast platforms (search for “mammalwatching”).

If you are motivated to want to help save the Vaquita then you could consider donating money to – or even volunteering to join – the Sea Shepherd conservation society.

S3 E4: The Vaquita (with Barbara Taylor & Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho)

Speaking of cetaceans we’ve just added a new league table to the website where you can display your world cetacean life list.

Cover photo: Barb, Lorenzo and a model Vaquita with Consag Rock in the background.

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Jon Hall

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