International Save the Vaquita Day falls on July 18 this year, and will be conducted virtually to ensure safety for all involved. However, just because it is online doesn’t mean you can’t participate! Our annual t-shirt campaign has only 3 days left, and we need your support! Please consider purchasing this year’s t-shirt. All proceeds going to the Muskwa Club, Inc.’s vaquita conservation efforts, and it is a great way to spread the word about the plight of this species. We would love to see your selfies wearing the shirt on July 18 with the hashtags #SaveTheVaquita and #ISTVD2020!
I have reopened the ISTVD 2016 t-shirt campaign due to popular demand!
There are less than two weeks remaining in the campaign, so please act quickly if you would like to get a stylish shirt for you or a loved one (U.S. residents only). This is the last chance to get an official shirt for what is sure to be the biggest ISTVD yet, and all profits go directly to Vaquita conservation, particularly our International Save the Vaquita Day efforts!
Last winter’s campaign was very successful, raising over $500 for Vaquita conservation!
But that’s nothing compared to this time; we have already sold about 200 shirts, raising almost $3,200 in only 9 days!
Here is part of an update from our petition to make the gillnet ban permanent:
“Not only does the shirt raise awareness for the Vaquita, all profits go to Vaquita conservation, particularly our ISTVD efforts this year.
We have every size, age, and gender, so feel free to get one for everyone in the family!
Of course the shirt is perfect if you are having an ISTVD table, but even if you aren’t, people will ask you about this mysterious animal on your shirt, and voila! Now you have a perfect opportunity to educate someone about the world’s most endangered marine mammal species.”
Get yours now:
We started these campaigns about a month ago, and could have never predicted the sheer number of people that would support them.
Here are the statistics:
In other news, PROFEPA and Sea Shepherd have been making tremendous progress in ban enforcement and net confiscation. Despite inclement weather, dozens of Totoaba nets have been retrieved from the water, and multiple poacher arrests have been made in recent weeks. It is wonderful to see the Mexican government working closely with NGOs to accomplish a mutually desired goal!
If you haven’t already, please sign our petition and Thunderclap! Thank you.
If the Vaquita is to be saved, four things need to happen:
- The gillnet ban is made permanent
- The ban is properly enforced
- The Totoaba swim bladder trade is shut down
- Alternative, Vaquita-safe fishing gear is developed and implemented
These are not going to be easy to accomplish, but Mexico certainly has the power and will to make them all a reality.
We need to show our support and clarify exactly what needs to be done to save this species. But how can I tell the Mexican government these four things? How can I make my voice heard?
Now there is an easy way.
The VIVA Vaquita Coalition has started a petition to get this message to:
These people are extremely influential and literally have the power in their hands to save the Vaquita. If they agree to the four things above, the Vaquita will most likely thrive.
Signing the petition is extremely easy. All you have to do is fill in your name, email address, etc. and press Sign! Or you can log in to Change.org with Facebook or email, and literally just click one button to sign!
If there is one thing you ever do for the Vaquita, make it signing this petition.
Thank you from the VV coalition and the Vaquita.
To learn more and sign, click here:
And don’t forget to support the Thunderclap!
We have just launched a Thunderclap campaign to raise awareness for the Vaquita! Our recurring theme throughout 2016 will be “The Year of the Vaquita” and that 2016 will be a “make or break” year for the species. We are trying to get to 500 supporters before March 4, and if we do, the message below will be shared around the world! Please show your support!
“The critically endangered Vaquita porpoise is the rarest marine mammal species on the planet. Between 50 and 100 remain, and all of them live in a tiny region in the northern Gulf of California, Mexico. Their only threat is accidental entanglement in fishing nets called gillnets, which are illegally set for the also-endangered Totoaba fish. There is a lucrative black market trade in Asia for the swim bladders of the Totoaba, fueling this highly destructive fishery. The Vaquita is simply an accidental victim in this situation, but nevertheless, it is on the absolute brink of extinction.
2016 is a “make or break” year for the Vaquita. Which one would you prefer?
We are doing everything we can to reverse the Vaquita’s decline, from online awareness to in-person outreach. One of our biggest efforts has been International Save the Vaquita Day, which has taken place on the second Saturday of July since 2013. ISTVD is a worldwide celebration of the Vaquita and the people trying to save it, through tables, festivals, and much more. This year it is on July 9, and we are going to make the event bigger than ever! We will have tables all around the world, as well as a huge social media effort, all to create buzz and educate the public about this extremely urgent cause! In 2015 we convinced the Mexican government to ban all gillnet fishing in the Vaquita’s range, which is amazing news! Now this year, we are going to have to make sure they flawlessly enforce the ban as well as make it permanent with the aid of Vaquita-safe fishing gear!
2016 has to be the Year of the Vaquita, or else it will be too late to save this magnificent animal.”
Today is #GivingTuesday! This is a day dedicated to donating to charities and other good causes in the holiday spirit. We spend a lot of time buying things this time of year, but how about giving?
Luckily, there is a way to do both! I have extended the #ISTVD2016 t-shirt campaign by 3 more days because the Muskwa Club has stepped up and will be handling international orders! That means if you live outside the U.S., you can now get a shirt! Email me at <email@example.com> with the amount and sizes of the t-shirts you want.
And if you live in the U.S., you have a second chance to get your shirts! Remember, all profits go to the Muskwa Club, Inc. and VIVA Vaquita’s International Save the Vaquita Day 2016 efforts! Thank you from the Vaquita!
Here is a poem that I wrote for an upcoming poetry competition focused on ocean pollution:
THE NETS WE FORGETThe dark gray sky casts its shadow on the sea,The sea swells with the wind, whipping up froth.Thunder booms among the rolling clouds;Lightning flashes in the distance,But underneath, it is calm.The muffled sound of the storm above dances off the coral.Small reef fish swarm in and out of nooks and crannies.All seems fine at first, but there is something wrong here.A ghost enters the scene.A nearly invisible drifter.A gillnet.But this fishing net does not belong to anybody.It has been abandoned,But its job is not done.This ghost still has lives to take.First comes a shrimp,A puny pink prawn:Gone.His life ends and is doomed to drift away,Trapped forever.Next is a fish.A huge one at that.He swims right into the net,And in the blink of an eye,The life leaves his body.A little porpoise swims through the shallows,Bubbles dancing down her side.She’s teaching her baby how to fish.They happen upon a juicy meal,But as the mother darts towards the target,She is struck by a web of death.The fish they were chasingWas already a victim.The baby, terrified, watches as her mother writhes in agony.And the ghost has taken yet another life.
And here is a mosaic of a Vaquita made out of hundreds of photographs taken during International Save the Vaquita Days 2014 & 2015:
International Save the Vaquita Day has become a huge event, and one that has been—and will continue to be—making a legitimate difference for the Vaquita and its survival. Showing the people and government of Mexico that the world cares about the Vaquita and appreciates their efforts to date will hopefully inspire them to follow through with their promises and actually save this species. To make ISTVD 2016 the biggest one yet, help ignite the buzz and donate to the event by buying a cool ISTVD 2016 t-shirt!
Want to be a part of the action for International Save the Vaquita Day 2016? Do you want to show your support for the world’s most endangered marine mammal? Do you want to raise money for the Muskwa Club and VIVA Vaquita for #ISTVD2016? Do you want a stylish, limited edition t-shirt that will make everyone around you jealous and curious about this mysterious “Vaquita”?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, this campaign is the right one for you.
Only during the month of November, you can purchase a cool #ISTVD2016 t-shirt for only $19! This shirt makes a perfect gift for the holidays, or you can splurge and spoil yourself for a good cause! (Or both!) The more, the better, because if we don’t reach our goal of 50 shirts sold, the campaign will not run!
But remember, the campaign ends on November 30, and we need to reach our goal of 50 shirts, or else nobody will get them! Let’s make this ISTVD the biggest and best one yet!
Thank you and Viva Vaquita!
After a very successful campaign earlier this year, Sea Shepherd’s Operation Milagro is back!
Operation Milagro II will start shortly and attempt to keep Sea Shepherd’s momentum going from the first Operation Milagro, where they captured the first Vaquita footage since 2013, patrolled the waters for illegal fishing, and formed a promising partnership with the Mexican government.
“During [Milagro II], which will span until April 2016, Sea Shepherd will partner with the government of Mexico to protect the waters of the Vaquita refuge, patrol for poachers, document issues facing the endangered cetacean, collect data in order to collaborate and to share with the scientific community, and conduct outreach in the region, meeting with marine biologists, researchers and other NGOs working locally to save the Vaquita.”
In addition to the episode in my previous post, here are some other great podcasts about the Vaquita:
Eyes on Conservation (Episodes 26, 28, 30, 42, 43, & 44)
Speak Up For Blue (Episodes 14, 38, & 40)
Elements (Episode 112)
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:
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:
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:
Let’s save this bloody porpoise! 😉