The Vaquita is Mexico’s national marine mammal. This goes without surprise as it is not only an icon but also Mexico’s only endemic marine mammal. I read this on Wikipedia, and I’ve only seen it there so I am not sure if it is official.
If you are planning a vacation and are having a difficult time deciding where to go, put the Upper Gulf of California on top of that list. Even if you are not planning on going on vacation, maybe you should just to take a load off and kick back with a martini. One of the largest factors in Vaquita conservation is the economic success of Mexico and its ex-fishermen. Here is a little paragraph from vaquita.tv:
“Support local economies – Now that many of the fishermen are retiring from fishing and starting new businesses, it is important to support them in their new endeavors. If you travel to the area try staying in any of the ecological lodges, or maybe have a nice meal in a restaurant set up as part of the vaquita conservation program. Many of the fishermen are now entering into the ecotourism industry so make sure your sightseeing or fishing trip is set up with one of them. For a list of some of the new businesses in the region you can visit CEDO’s web page, or simply ask around and people will point in the right direction. Remember that the more support these communities receive, the better chance we have of keeping the waters gillnet free.”
This site is one of the best Vaquita resources on the planet, so you should definitely pay it a visit. Maybe even pay a visit to Mexico.
*Based on a Mexican legend
Many years ago,
In the land of Mexico,
Some warriors with magic powers
Could shape-shift to and fro.
They used these powers to protect their lands
Of fine women and mariachi bands.
The lives of every villager
Were in these people’s hands.
One of these few men
Had the name Water Coyote.
He would sit down on the grass
And calmly eat peyote.
He could morph into an animal that dwells in the great sea.
Smaller than a man;
Ends with A and starts with V.
Or he could turn to a coyote, with heart, brain, and soul.
And howled to the moon
In a sky as black as coal.
He loved his people above all things,
And got the rewards
That being kind brings.
One day he got out of bed,
An arrow of war sailed overhead.
He rushed home to see a battle—
His men were being killed like cattle.
He fought with his brothers for seven days and nights.
Everyone of them died, and
He ran away with all his might.
Crying the whole way home,
He eventually found his village.
They were very glad to see him,
But he told them of the pillage.
They cried through the night,
Weeping until dawn.
Mourning their lost men
Till they saw the sun.
Coyote then took every last person
Down to the salty ocean.
He gathered smooth blue rocks;
They pondered this commotion.
He placed one stone
‘Neath the tongue of ev’ry boy and girl.
And, one by one, they entered the water,
Transforming in a swirl.
They all became Vaquita,
Their spirits joined their brothers’.
They still live to this day,
But might not live another.
José Hernández (who Diane Glim commented about on a previous post) from Mariachi Sol de Mexico, Save the Whales, and ¡Viva Vaquita! teamed up to do a public service announcement about the Vaquita being broadcasted on radio stations in the Monterey, California area. You can listen to it here: http://www.savethewhales.org/vaquita_psa.html.
The Mexican government assembled a committee of international experts to assess the necessary methods to save the Vaquita. The International Committee for the Recuperation of the Vaquita (CIRVA) previously met in 1997, 1999, and 2004. Members of CIRVA met again in February 2012 and reviewed progress of the Vaquita since the last meeting. The CIRVA recommendations are in this report:
Executive summary in Spanish: http://bit.ly/ID2sQS
In English: http://bit.ly/Hrgm92
The Vaquita population is still declining and is probably made up of under 200 individual Vaquitas.
The boat rocked with every rolling current
As I slowly fed my net into the swirling aqua sea.
I watched as the floats drifted off,
Knowing the next time I would touch them,
I would be hauling hundreds of shrimp onto this deck.
I leaned against the cabin window,
I thought of my beautiful family:
My wife and son.
This was for them.
A large mob of gulls swarmed around the boat:
There must have been something in the water.
Spitting tobacco overboard, I began to pull in the net.
Inch by inch,
Foot by foot.
It was too late.
She was already gone.
A dead Vaquita lay mangled in the mesh,
Lifeless and dripping in blood from the lacerations.
I sat down on the deck and began to cry.
According to Vivavaquita, some ways YOU can help the Vaquita are:
Tell all your friends and family about the Vaquita.
Support conservation measures and vote for politicians with a good environmental record.
Support the Mexican economy by traveling to Mexico.
Do not buy shrimp or fish caught with gillnets.
Write your elected officials and tell them to help the Vaquita.
Write a letter to the President of Mexico and tell him to save the Vaquita. Felipe.Calderon@presidencia.gob.mx
Send Vaquita drawings to the United Nations, asking them to support Vaquita conservation efforts by Mexico.
Send a message to the Mexican government to show your support for the Vaquita! Below are the most relevant agencies and links to their online suggestion boxes:
SEMARNAT (Ministry of Natural Resources)
CONANP (Commission of Natural Protected Areas)
Donate to the Vaquita Recovery Fund!
The Vaquita makes Mexican news! –
A very rare sighting of NINE Vaquitas took place this past weekend in the Vaquita Refuge near Rocas Consag, offshore of San Felipe, Baja California!