Silver linings

There’s no other way to put it. The Vaquita is in a terrible situation.

There are fewer than 100 remaining, and they all live in a relatively miniscule area. They have consistently declined for as long as we have known about the species, and it could be getting even worse. There is a lot of conflict among governments and NGO’s in terms of who wants to help the Vaquita and who doesn’t. However,

“A certain darkness is needed to see the stars.”

We must look at the silver linings of the very dark storm cloud that is the Vaquita’s situation.

The Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto, and his committees are being extremely helpful, which is obviously a huge step. There are many confidential progressions being made in the “Vaquita Headquarters,” many of which are positive.

Conservation group LightHawk will be “flying monthly aerial surveys over the northern Gulf of California” this year to monitor the fishing activities in the Gulf, both legal and illegal. This kind of surveillance is a major part of enforcing the new laws to protect the Vaquita: http://www.planeandpilotmag.com/products/whats-new/lighthawk-flies-to-help-save-endangered-porpoise.html

Some more great news is that the Colorado River has finally reunited with the Gulf of California. What this means for the Vaquita, it’s hard to say. But let’s just admire some great restoration work: http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2014/05/19/a-sacred-reunion-the-colorado-river-returns-to-the-sea/

Another example of great Vaquita conservation is the San Diego Zoo: http://blogs.sandiegozoo.org/2014/10/31/helping-vaquita-porpoises/

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium, famous for their dolphin Winter (the subject of both Dolphin Tale movies), has started a major campaign to save the Vaquita: http://www.seewinter.com/get-involved/winters-hope-vaquita

Two more petitions that we would really appreciate you to sign are:

https://secure.oceanconservancy.org/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=8399D1166361249BAC174C8F19764608.app260b?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=846&s_src=14WAXAXXXX&s_subsrc=14AVQE

http://www.change.org/p/prevent-the-extinction-of-the-vaquita-porpoise-the-world-s-most-endangered-marine-mammal

I have a second edition of my book in the works, so keep an eye out for that in the near future…

Finally, many of you remember the Vaquita Blanket Challenge. It was a challenge (much like the ALS Ice Bucket one) where we encouraged participants to get wrapped up in two blankets and try to escape in under 97 seconds (the number of Vaquitas left). Though there were some wonderful participants, many people either didn’t have the time to film themselves doing this or simply were embarrassed. Therefore, the t-shirt campaign for people who had taken the challenge did not thrive by any means. In light of this, I have created a new t-shirt campaign that isn’t related to the challenge. Please check it out, and hopefully purchase one for yourself or a loved one (it makes the perfect Christmas gift for that animal lover in your life). Our goal is 50 shirts, but I believe we can surpass that. 100% of profits go to the Muskwa Club, Inc., now an official non-profit organization, and you can even make an additional donation directly to them. The campaign runs the entire month of November, so you will receive the shirts by Christmas.

Thank you!

https://www.booster.com/savethevaquita97

T-shirt

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Puppeteers

Godfather Vaquita

The fishing season has begun. It runs during every month that has the letter “r” in it, which is September to April.

Enormous actions need to be taken right now by the Mexican and US governments in order to save the Vaquita. This could be the last year with the Vaquita if the fishermen are allowed to fish in their range this season:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/19/opinion/vidal-endangered-vaquita/

Our governments need to work together and make a decision now. Like puppeteers, they have complete control of the entire species, as I represented above. To help them make this historical decision, please sign this petition:

http://act.oceanconservancy.org/site/MessageViewer?dlv_id=41469&em_id=30824.0

 

Time for action

97. There are 97 Vaquitas left on this planet. For every Vaquita on earth, there are 82 million people.

To date, nothing that has been done to save them has worked. It is a harsh reality for all of us in the field of Vaquita conservation, and now there is the threat of Totoaba fishing for the Asian black market, which we didn’t think was occurring in substantial amounts anymore.

A big change is necessary if we plan on saving this species. We have been incredibly diplomatic with the fishermen, but obviously it has not been working. We need help from very important people, and we will certainly try our hardest to make that happen. Please read this message from ¡VIVA Vaquita!: http://www.vivavaquita.org/VV_Emergency2014.html.

¡VIVA Vaquita! is requesting that the Mexican Government do everything in its power (and make full use of assistance offered from other countries, such as the United States) to eliminate all gillnet fishing in the Vaquita’s range in the next two months. If this does not happen, we will immediately begin campaigning for a boycott of ALL Mexican seafood products, until such time that the ban is considered to be in effect.

Right now, the most important thing that the general public can do is sign and share this new petition from the Ocean Conservancy:

http://act.oceanconservancy.org/site/MessageViewer?dlv_id=41469&em_id=30824.0

 

Graphic © Joe Dlugo

Graphic © Joe Dlugo

It is vital that everyone shares the Vaquita’s predicament on social media before it is too late. If you have not already, “like” ¡VIVA Vaquita! on Facebook for important updates.

A good example of social media helping a cause is “Changing Hearts, Minds, and Lives.” They are a Facebook group (of which I am a member of) that uses social media to spread the word about important environmental issues, such as the Vaquita.

Countless major news companies have been attracted to the Vaquita’s story, but unfortunately, it’s because of how close to extinction it is. Hopefully this new level of recognition can have a positive impact on the species.

If you live near the Point Vicente Interpretive Center in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, then please attend their book signing on Saturday, November 8th, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Beth Whittenbury will be representing my book there, so please pay her a visit and buy my book! Thanks so much Mrs. Whittenbury!

Lauri Hamilton has submitted a video for National Geographic’s Expedition Granted program for a chance at a $50,000 grant to go out and film Vaquitas. Please vote for her on September 16 if she is one of the finalists! She used one of my drawings for the video, which I am very thankful for. Here is the link: http://expeditiongranted.nationalgeographic.com/project/the-vaquita-project/.

If we all work together to save the Vaquita, it really does have a chance…

Now is the time for action.

International Save the Vaquita Day tomorrow!

I want YOU

If you haven’t already heard, tomorrow (or today in some places), Saturday, July 12, is International Save the Vaquita Day. ISTVD is a day dedicated to protecting the innocent little Vaquita. The world has been rough to this petite porpoise, and tomorrow is a chance for us to start paying it back. So what will you be doing for International Save the Vaquita Day? Below is a list of confirmed venues for tomorrow. Please check out Facebook or email me at <gl.tamarin123@gmail.com> to find out what times the tables will be. If you can’t find out, a good bet is late morning, and most tables will last for at least a 3-4 hours. Please click here to spread the word, and here to sign VIVA Vaquita’s petition. For a lot more information on ISTVD, check out: https://vlogvaquita.com/international-save-the-vaquita-day-2014/. And if you can’t make it to one of these tables, there will be a Tweetstorm going on tomorrow; all you have to do is write a tweet that includes the hashtags “#SaveTheVaquita” or “#ISTVD” to help make them trending worldwide. If you want, you can check out @vlogvaquita for some pre-written Vaquita tweets that you can copy and paste for the Tweetstorm.

Thanks to everyone who plans on participating in ISTVD and a huge round of applause to all of the organizers!

List of Events & Locations:

UNITED STATES

CALIFORNIA
Long Beach, CA
Aquarium of the Pacific

Monterey, CA
American Cetacean Society – Museum of Monterey, Custom House Plaza

Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Point Vicente Interpretive Center

San Diego, CA (4 sites)
• Cabrillo National Monument, Pt. Loma
• Living Coast Discovery Center, Chula Vista
• SD Natural History Museum, Balboa Park
• Tecolote Shores, South, Mission Bay Park

San Pedro, CA
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Santa Cruz, CA
Save The Whales – Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center

ARIZONA
Biosphere 2 (10 am to 2 pm), Tucson

HAWAII – OAHU
Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club, Kapolei
Waikiki Aquarium, Honolulu

OREGON
Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport

VIRGINIA
Virginia Aquarium, Virginia Beach

AUSTRALIA
Southern Cross University, East Lismore, NSW
Community Center, Byron Bay, NSW

AUSTRIA
Vienna

CHINA
Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, Hong Kong

MEXICO
Dr. Jorge Urban – Estudiantes Somemna, La Paz

NETHERLANDS
Warnsveld, Gelderland

Thanks to William Whittenbury and the Muskwa Club for arranging many of these locations & making the map below.

Map View of International Save The Vaquita Day 2014

VIVA Vaquita petition

Here is an extremely important message from VIVA Vaquita:

“Dear Vaquita Supporters,

We have a BIG GOAL to meet for a small porpoise that desperately needs your support now! With over 20,523 signed supporters so far, we still need 29,477 more to reach our 50,000 goal before International Save The Vaquita Day on July 12, 2014.

Please take a moment to simply sign our petition to help Prevent the Extinction of the Vaquita Porpoise.

Thank you from ¡VIVA Vaquita!

Prevent the Extinction of the Vaquita Porpoise – the world’s most endangered marine mammal!
http://www.change.org/petitions/prevent-the-extinction-of-the-vaquita-porpoise-the-world-s-most-endangered-marine-mammal

¡VIVA Vaquita! Coalition’s Goals & Mission:

VIVA Vaquita is a coalition of like-minded scientists, educators, and conservationists, who would like to increase the attention given to the Vaquita, the World’s most endangered marine mammal species. Our goals and mission are to generate awareness of the Vaquita and to promote a healthy Upper Gulf of California ecosystem. We conduct research, public awareness and education activities to bring this about. Ultimately, we aim to help save the Vaquita from extinction, and to do so in a way that also provides long-term benefits to the fisherman and other residents who live around the Gulf of California, Mexico.

http://www.vivavaquita.org/
http://www.cetosresearch.org/
http://www.savethewhales.org/
http://acsmb.org/
http://www.cedointercultural.org/
http://www.oers.ca/
http://www.muskwaclub.org/
https://vlogvaquita.com/

https://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.picbadges.com%2Fbadge%2F3581249%2F&h=SAQGnX4Em&s=1

#SaveTheVaquita

Please share this!

WWF’s successes of 2013

As the year draws to a close, WWF takes a look back on the wonderful year of 2013 in their “15 WWF Success Stories of 2013.” Of course, the biggest Vaquita news in recent memory took place this June in the form of the Official Norm law, a new regulation that guarantees that all shrimp gillnets will be phased into Vaquita-safe trawls within the next 3 years! The Vaquita is featured at number 6 on the list because it was WWF’s petition (which garnered over 38,000 signatures from 127 countries) that caused the law in the first place. We cannot give enough thanks to WWF and everyone else that has helped the Vaquita so far in its eventful, 55-year history with us (the Vaquita was discovered in 1958). Let’s have a toast to a great 2014 for the Vaquita!

My sister and I came up with a fun holiday activity to find out your Vaquita name! For example, my name is Aidan and I was born in March, so my Vaquita name would be, “Vita Marina.” Have fun and please share!

What's your Vaquita name?

Let’s do this!

As I am sure you know by now if you have read some of my previous posts, Mexico made a new law (called the Official Norm) that requires all shrimp gillnets to be switched out with Vaquita-safe trawls within the next 3 years. This is obviously enormous news, so even some of the major groups wrote articles about it, among them the WWF, the organization whose petition caused the law to be created in the first place.

However, few to no articles talk about what happens next.

This law is only affecting shrimp gillnets, because they are the only ones who have a Vaquita-safe substitute so far. Finfishing gillnets pose just as big, if not bigger, of a threat to the Vaquita, so they obviously need to be replaced as well. Currently, there are Vaquita-safe finfishing trawls being developed and tested, so hopefully they prove effective and can be implemented in the Gulf as well within the next couple of years, before it is too late.

The other part of the puzzle with this law is the cooperation of the fishermen and the commitment of the government. We are all hoping that the government really does follow through with this plan and succeeds, and from what I can tell, they mean business with this law. They really do want to save the Vaquita, and I believe they will as long as one factor falls into place: the fishermen.

In the end, it is all up to the fishermen. No matter how strict the government gets, the fishermen will be able to slip through their grasp and fish illegally. That is, if the fishermen would rather risk it all just to fish with gillnets. The law plans to train each fishermen on how to use the trawls and compensate them, meaning there is no real loss for the fishermen that participate in this mandatory law. The trawls are a lot more expensive than gillnets, so the government is going to need to use a lot of their tax dollars to make it happen. If you are a Gulf fishermen, please do the right thing and follow the law. Participate in the Official Norm, and tell every other fishermen to do the same. If you live in Mexico, know that every item you buy with tax could be helping save one of your national icons.

You. Yes, you sitting there reading this post. I want you to help this law succeed too. First off, DO NOT BUY FISH OR SHRIMP FROM THE GULF OF CALIFORNIA CAUGHT WITH GILLNETS! If there is no business, there will be no reason to fish. The next thing to do is sign my new and improved petition to the Mexican president, SEMARNAT, and PROFEPA, which asks them to do the things I wrote about in this post:

http://www.change.org/petitions/save-the-elusive-vaquita

Thank you so much for your help! If you would like to learn everything you can about the Vaquita while also donating to the species, please buy the first ever Vaquita book, written by me, here: https://www.createspace.com/4268018.

Together, we can save the Vaquita. Let’s do this!