Why are we doing this?

We spend a lot of time asking how to save the Vaquita.

However, asking why may be just as important.

To me, it has always been obvious. When any creature is in trouble, I want to help it; let alone when we are the reason behind its suffering. There are countless other amazing people who think this way, and because of them, the Vaquita is still swimming today.

But this morning I read a comment on a social media post about how exciting the recent Vaquita sightings are, and it went something like this:

“Thank God. Now, because of this, all the homeless have homes, the unemployed have jobs, and the beaten wives have boxing lessons. It’s so great that we’ve seen a bloody porpoise.”

I will not name this person, because, of course, everyone is entitle to their own opinions. I just found this comment very intriguing. I am sure this person is not alone in thinking this way about environmental issues, so I will delve into this a little.

I will start off by saying homelessness, poverty, and abuse are some of the most tragic realities of our world today. It is unfair that people have to spend the only life they have in such terrible situations. And because of how upsetting these things are to the general public, there are countless organizations dedicated to helping these sufferers and victims.

But just because there is something terrible happening, doesn’t mean that all other terrible situations should be forgotten about. There are enough people in this world to help both humans and nature.

And believe me, nature needs saving.

But why? What’s the big deal if an almost never-seen porpoise disappears? Here is an excerpt from my upcoming article (stay tuned for when it gets published) in the Journal of Marine Animals and Their Ecology:

“The extinction of the Vaquita would have major global impacts in a variety of ways. The effect on the local ecosystem would be seen very quickly because the Vaquita is an important species in the food web. If Mexico allows the Vaquita to go extinct, there would be numerous social and economical repercussions. In addition, every living organism is valuable; an entire species is even more so. We have the moral duty to save a species when we are the reason they are endangered. Finally, the outcome of the Vaquita’s situation will affect conservationists all over the world. If the Vaquita goes extinct, it will send the message that we don’t have the will to save endangered species, and it will happen again and again. However, if we do save the Vaquita, it will inspire conservationists to work harder to save other species in similar situations. The Vaquita needs to be saved for the Vaquita, its ecosystem, other endangered species, and for us.”

The philosophy that humans are the only species that matters has put our planet into a downward spiral for the past few hundred years. We haven’t really felt the effects of this spiral yet, but very soon, we are going to experience the repercussions of our collective neglect for this planet’s resources and for other species.

However, it is not too late to reverse some of the damages we have made. One of the best opportunities to do so in dramatic fashion is to save the Vaquita.

So when three Vaquitas are seen by decision-making Mexican dignitaries at the beginning of an extremely important survey, just when hope is fading, there is reason to celebrate. That is why we are glad to see a bloody porpoise.

Here is a photo gallery of the expedition so far, and it gives an idea of how important it really is:

Expedition gallery

SEMARNAT Press Conference

Most recently, the illegal Totoaba trade has been focused in Hong Kong, as discovered by Greenpeace. Please sign their petition to end this trade, which as you may know, is the primary cause for Vaquita bycatch:

Greenpeace Hong Kong Petition

And lastly, Mexican-American non-profit organization World’s Aquarium has created a campaign to fund their program to help monitor the illegal fishing in the Gulf. Non-governmental participation is a necessary effort in this fight. Please donate if you can; there are no better causes:

Marina Vaquita Observer Program

Let’s save this bloody porpoise! 😉


2 thoughts on “Why are we doing this?

  1. I am so glad that you, Aidan, are taking on this sometimes difficult question of “Why save a species?” I am surprised and still appalled to hear this question so often. Many people don’t understand. If I may add to your excellent points. I have made this question and its many answers a key topic in my new documentary, “Saving Endangered Species”, for school presentations. EVERY species is important, whether or not its safe, attractive, or even visible. It fills a niche in the environment where it is needed or it would not have already survived for so long. Like a cog in a vastly complicated machine, it has a function and removing that one gear, will damage the performance of that magnificent machine called “life”. When we lose a species, we impact and may lose its prey, its predators, its symbionts, even the microorganisms that live within its body. The entire community of life around that missing species suffers. Further, we lose genetic diversity from the great vault of genetic information on earth, which reduces the vitality and variability of related and future species. Every element in the Web of Life contributes to its strength. Every damaged filament damages the whole. See, it really isn’t so hard to understand, once people think about it. We have an awful lot of minds to elevate! All life is precious! The beautiful little Vaquita is the crisis of the moment. It’s time for saving is now. Thank you for all you do!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks so much for that Aidan, it is definitely Vaquitas time for salvation and we must keep up the momentum. I just recently published my newsletter with some images that have never been released before in regards to Totoaba in El Gulfo de Santa Clara. This is a reminder to us all that while the federal government of Mexico has finally taken the serious action that was needed to save Vaquita we still have a long way to go to convince the local fisherman. As is demonstrated by the images at the following link, http://worldsaquarium.com/blog/vaquita-marina-observer-program/ I have been holding off on publishing these images for quite a while but I feel now is a good time. Thanks for all you do!! Saludos de San Carlos, Vince

    Liked by 1 person

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