Post-a-day Challenge

Please participate in our newest campaign: the Vaquita “Post-a-day Challenge!” We are challenging you to write at least one Vaquita post on social media every day for the entire month of March (already starting tomorrow!). Please let us know if you are participating (via comments, posts, or tweets), and share the banner below to spread the word! Also, if you read this after March 1st, please still participate. It is much better late than never! #SaveTheVaquita!

Post-a-day Challenge

In other news, I am now part of The Dodo, an amazing animal website, where I will occasionally be posting some Vaquita articles: https://www.thedodo.com/community/vlogvaquita.

Also, please add this International Save the Vaquita Day PicBadge to your Facebook profile picture!

William Whittenbury sent me this great picture of my books in the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium’s gift shop! Please purchase one as a donation to multiple Vaquita charities, such as ¡VIVA Vaquita! and the Muskwa Club.

Book on sale

Also, keep an eye out on Paws on Controls, a really neat activism website that will be featuring an article about the Vaquita and V-log in the near future.

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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.

Flyer

Using one of the beautiful paintings that Memuco made for the cover of my book, I created a flyer for my World Oceans Day table. Please share this on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks to attract as many people as you can to this awesome event. Unfortunately, the National Aquarium in Baltimore will not be able to host a table on July 6, so I will not be there on National Save the Vaquita Day. I look forward to possibly working with them in the future, though.

WOD Poster

Social media

After reading the pages and some posts on this blog, you will know a few things: One, I am a kid with an obsession for a porpoise that I might never see. Two, the porpoise is extremely endangered due to entanglement in gillnets. Three, it will be gone within a few years without the removal of the nets from the only place they live, the northern Gulf of California. That’s really the most important stuff.

Next, you might be thinking, “Well, I would like to help this thing, but I don’t have much spare money, and I don’t live near where all of the cool events take place to help and learn about it. Anyway, what could I possibly do to help it when there are scientists who are actually trying?” Then you might click out of the page.

I had the exact same thoughts. Living almost as far away from it in this country as possible, I felt like I was missing out on all of the booths and fundraisers and such. I donated a few hundred bucks over the period of a year, but I knew in the back of my mind that such money is dwarfed by the already millions of dollars spent by the Mexican government. Don’t get me wrong, donations to groups like ¡Viva Vaquita! are vital, but it doesn’t always feel that way. You want to know the best way to help the Vaquita from your chair that is nowhere near Mexico, right?

The answer is social media. That’s right, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Digg, Google Plus+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, MySpace, DeviantArt, Tumblr, WordPress, and many more. Post something about the Vaquita. Tell your friends and have them do the same. What’s better: one person donating $100, or 200 people each donating $15? Not only does the second one equal 30 times more money for the Vaquita, but 200 people, rather than one, learn about it, and it’s likely they will pass it on too.

So the next time you want to post a status update on Facebook, write about the little Mexican porpoise. As a matter of fact, do it right now. Go ahead, Facebook is waiting.