The big 3

According to leading Vaquita researcher Dr. Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho, there are 3 initiatives that we members of the general public can participate in to legitimately make a difference in the Vaquita’s situation. They are:

1. Raise awareness
2. Convince restaurants to only buy their shrimp from safe sources
3. Raise money towards the switch-out program

The first one has so many different levels to it. This blog is an example of the online branch of public awareness, as is a Vaquita-related Facebook post. Another branch is face-to-face awareness, such as the tables manned by the Muskwa Club and ¡Viva Vaquita!, or a Vaquita speech at an event. Some other things that can raise awareness are books (mine is the only one so far), pamphlets, or public service announcements (especially on the radio). The online branch is the easiest and most effective, because you can instantly send information around the world with the click of a button. The hard part is getting the information to a large enough audience with the information being worthwhile enough that they will, in turn, pass it around to other people. Luckily, the Vaquita is a very worthwhile cause. So all you need to do is start a chain of posts about it, and those very posts could end up being read by every person on earth.

The second one is only for the dedicated Vaquita conservationist. It would require quite a bit of research and getting out of the house. For example, the next time you go to Red Lobster, ask your waiter where the shrimp comes from. If they don’t know, ask to speak with the manager. I honestly have never seen shrimp that was not farm-raised somewhere in Asia, but I always make sure. Always. Even though there is much debate as to how/where shrimp should be caught for maximum sustainability, anything other than gillnet-caught in the Gulf of California is fine from a Vaquita standpoint. It is most important to check restaurants and grocery stores for Vaquita-unsafe shrimp if you live near Mexico, in places like California and Arizona. There are many sites, including http://vaquita.tv/, that go into detail about sustainable seafood. After all, gillnet fishing is the only thing wiping out the Vaquita. Why not make sure that you aren’t supporting it?

The third and final initiative is raising money towards the switch-out program. The Muskwa Club and the American Cetacean Society Los Angeles Chapter have teamed up to create the only charity that sends money directly to the switch-out program, and nothing else. This is vital because the switch-out program is believed to be the best chance for the Vaquita, because it is unreasonable to think that the fishermen will just give up fishing for some unknown business that could get them nowhere financially. The switch-out is a best of both worlds situation, because the fishermen still can fish with the new nets that have proven to be as or more effective than gillnets, while the Vaquitas are put in little to no danger whatsoever. To donate to the new charity, please write a check to P.O. Box 1208, San Pedro, CA 90733-1208 and write Vaquita on the memo line. Yes, I know it is a cliché, but every dollar really does count. But the Muskwa Club has bigger plans. We are attempting to contact eco-conscious celebrities and billionaires as potential funding sources. Leonardo DiCaprio and Pierce Brosnan are both part of huge efforts to save tigers and whales, so why not the Vaquita? Warren Buffett just donated $2.6 billion to charity. Yes, you read that correctly. The entire switch-out program can be funded with, at most, $180 million. I am not necessarily saying we are going to get $180 million from Mr. Buffett, but it is exciting to think about what one human can do. He can literally save a species, in theory.

Maybe I will start playing the lottery.

Got the book!

I received my order of 65 books on Friday, and they turned out awesome! It feels really strange to be holding a book that I created, but I love it! I got so many so I can give some to my friends and family, and also because a few aquariums said they would sell them in their gift shops. I would really appreciate if you bought one for yourself or a loved one here: https://www.createspace.com/4268018. Here are some pictures of the book:

 

Cover

Interior

Interior

Back cover

Do your part

Today, Saturday, July 6, is National Save the Vaquita Day. If there was ever a day to help the Vaquita, today’s the day. I am asking you to do your part to save the Vaquita, even if you only do something seemingly miniscule. For example, today I am riding my bike around my neighborhood, putting Vaquita flyers in people’s mailboxes (I couldn’t man the Virginia table due to travel reasons). To do your part today, you could attend a Vaquita table (click here for a list), donate through ¡Viva Vaquita!’s website, buy my book, post a status update about the Vaquita on a social network, fill out this survey with the Vaquita’s information and range (the northern Gulf of California, Mexico), ride your bike around your neighborhood with the printable, quarter-sheet flyers below, make a pledge to have a DVD (Daily Vaquita Duty), or any combination of those. I would love to hear your ideas about how you can help the Vaquita today and every other day, so please leave what you did today in the comments. Thank you so much for your participation in this vital new holiday.

Vaquita Flyers

Amazon

*If you would like to buy the book, please purchase it from https://www.createspace.com/4268018 to make your donation as large as possible. It is the same price, but I get more profits (therefore I donate more) via this website than the ones below. They are only used for publicity for people who find it by chance, because a little money is better than no money.

My book is now available on Amazon and Amazon Europe! As I said above, please do not buy it from these sites (Amazon takes a much larger profit than the Create Space site above, so less money will go to the Vaquita via Amazon), unless you want the Kindle version more than a physical copy (the actual book is only $4 more). The Kindle version is $8.95, and you can get it on any device with Kindle (including the iPhone and iPad with the free Kindle app). The Kindle version definitely does not look as good as the paperback, so my advice is to just buy the book from https://www.createspace.com/4268018. Thanks in advance from the Vaquita!

The book is ready

After a year of writing, illustrating, and stressing out, my informational book, “The Vaquita: The Biology of an Endangered Porpoise,” is finally available! The book costs $12.95, with 100% of profits going to Vaquita research, education, and conservation (25% goes directly to ¡Viva Vaquita!). The book was written by me, illustrated by my brother, sister, and me, edited by Vaquita expert Dr. Thomas A. Jefferson (who also provided the back cover image), and the beautiful cover you can see below was by amazing artist Memuco. You can buy it here: https://www.createspace.com/4268018, and please distribute this link via social media. Buying one or more is a great way to donate while receiving the first ever Vaquita book! It will also be available on Amazon and Amazon Europe within the next week. Thank you so much for supporting me and more importantly, the Vaquita.

Cover

Campaign closed

My Custom Ink t-shirt campaign closed on Monday night, and I ended up selling 12 shirts. Unfortunately, that was not enough for any profit, so I will not be able to donate anything to ¡Viva Vaquita! at the moment. However, I will be donating 25% of my book’s profits to ¡Viva Vaquita!, which should be a lot of money. If you are interested in my Vaquita book, please stay tuned and follow my blog.

I’ll be back

Here is what the t-shirt looks like (they simplified my drawings’ colors and details for easier printing):

front-big

back-big

big_thumbnail

I have been and will continue to be extremely busy for the next few months, due to the publishing of my book, the creation of the VCS, and helping coordinate National Save the Vaquita Day (July 6). I may not be able to post as many things during this time. But believe me, I am going to have a lot of stories to tell when it’s all over.

Endangered Species Day 2013

Friday, May 17 was Endangered Species Day 2013. As a donation to our beautiful world, please buy a Vaquita t-shirt at https://campaign.customink.com/savethevaquita.

To my delight, my campaign is currently featured in the “Trending Campaigns” section of Custom Ink’s home page, https://campaign.customink.com! Help keep it there by purchasing one for only around $25! They also make a great gift. 25% of profits will go to ¡Viva Vaquita!, and the rest will go towards the printing of my book. The book will be featured in at least two aquariums’ gift shops and will be at many tables for National Save the Vaquita Day! Look for further updates on all of these things in the future. If you have not already, follow my blog (look in the right sidebar) to receive all new posts by email, just so you don’t miss anything.

 

ESD13

Muskwa’s National Save the Vaquita Day

The Muskwa Club has put up the first episode of their series of shadow puppet videos. You can watch it below. Also, their website is now www.muskwaclub.org.

Attention Muskwa Club members: the deadline for ordering a Vaquita t-shirt is Tuesday, May 7 at 11:59 pm, though I may extend the deadline slightly. Order it here: http://www.customink.com/signup/2nvhf7s2.

I have made a lot of progress on my book, including finishing all text, almost finishing all the illustrations, and I have front and back cover images (courtesy of Memuco and Tom Jefferson). I might even get NOAA or The Cousteau Society to pay for printing by sponsoring it! I hope to send it off to publishing this month.

Immense progress has been made with Muskwa’s National Save the Vaquita Day, about which they are contacting the president to make it an official day, July 6th. They have many, many aquariums participating in or considering participating in the event, with the Waikiki and Cabrillo Aquariums being confirmed for that day. Also, there is a chance I will be manning a table at the New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts on June 9 for World Oceans Day, and the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland on July 6 for National Save the Vaquita Day, if they confirm their participation in the event.

The Muskwa Club has a huge range of contacts in every imaginable niche, which is helping make all of this possible. They will be selling my book on July 6 at many of their tables, (¡Viva Vaquita! will be doing the same), and the Cabrillo Aquarium has even offered to sell the book at their gift shop! The Muskwa Club has many projects that they are keeping under wraps for now, but believe me, they are awesome! Also, I am now writing a column for the Muskwa Club’s monthly newsletter.

In other news, Jonathan answered the riddle correctly! Q: What is a Vaquita’s favorite model of computer? A: Microsoft Surface.