New Vaquita photos!

On October 22, two Vaquitas were photographed at close range, marking the first good photographs of the 2015 Vaquita Expedition, and some of the best ever of the species, for that matter!

Check out some of the photos (by Todd Pusser):

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Everyone is extremely excited about this sighting (and the approximately 25 other Vaquitas seen so far during this expedition!), as well as relieved to have new photos for future conservation efforts. President Enrique Peña Nieto is one of these excited individuals! He tweeted reports and photos of the sightings, and also stated that the efforts to save this species rage on, detailing the extensive recovery plan once again in a press release today! The U.S. government has also announced their partnership with Mexico and both of their commitments to saving the Vaquita and eliminating the illegal Totoaba trade in China.

Weather conditions during the expedition have been favorable for the most part (despite the devastating Hurricane Patricia that hit much further south in Mexico), allowing for many sightings, including many of female (cow) Vaquitas with their calves that were presumably born this spring. This is tremendous news, as it means that Vaquitas are still finding ways to reproduce, and therefore can recover if the population isn’t being threatened by gillnets. This expedition has only been going on for a month, and it has already resulted in over 25 sightings, great photographs, and best of all, a renewed hope among the conservation community that the Vaquita can not only be saved, but that all the pieces are already in place to make it actually happen.

Viva Vaquita!

Memuco is awesome

Memuco is, to put it mildly, awesome. He agreed to illustrate the cover of my book a while ago, and yesterday he sent me the finished products. He didn’t just do one, he did four. All four are the greatest Vaquita paintings I have ever seen. It was so hard to pick one for the cover, but I finally chose a beautiful painting of a mother and calf. But I will definitely use all of them for various purposes in the future. I don’t want to post them yet due to copyright reasons, but take my word for it that they are unbelievable. The book should be published by the end of the summer.

Plush Vaquitas

I love these plush Vaquitas that I received from the ¡Viva Vaquita! team! They are each hand-sewn, and no one is quite like another. I got a mother and calf set, with the baby fitting in a pouch in the mom’s belly! (See picture.) Unfortunately, there are no more available, at least at the moment, but it is still an example that this cute little porpoise still has a chance.

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La vaquita marina

The Vaquita is called la vaquita marina in Spanish. Since vaquita means “little cow”, it cannot simply be called la vaquita, for that would cause much confusion among the Spanish community. Marina, meaning “marine”, is added to the word to show it’s a porpoise, not a bovine calf.

‘Twas the night before V-mas

Christmas Special!

‘Twas the night before V-mas,

And all through the pod

Vaquita were gossiping,

With whispers and nods.

The fish were packed in the coral with care,

In hopes that St. Blue Whale would soon be there.

The calves all rested on the water’s surface,

But they couldn’t sleep because they were nervous.

The parents set out the croakers and milk,

And lay on their seabeds, softer than silk.

When up on the surface arose such a splash

That sounded like Narwhals in heated clash.

Papa V swam to the top like a jet.

And guess who was there? Guess whom he met?

St. Blue Whale, floating with a smirk.

Warm eyes and a smile, he couldn’t be a jerk.

He had eight antsy dolphins pulling his reins,

And a sack full of treats like seaweed canes.

He left some presents under the Christmas Reef,

And called to his dolphins, “Now Swimmer, now Spinner, now Breacher and Sleef,

On Logger, on Ringer, on Pinger and Turf!”

And St. Whale and his pod swam off in the surf.