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.
I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season and is taking this time to enjoy their families, friends, hobbies, and the little things in life. It is very important to appreciate the people and things we take for granted, because you never know when they will be gone. I also hope that some of you are still thinking about the Vaquita, and are preparing for what is sure to be one of the most historic years in the history of conservation:
2016: The Year of the Vaquita
Our team firmly believes that 2016 is a make or break year for this species. I don’t know about you, but we sure want it to be a “make” year. If all goes as well or better than it did this year, the Vaquita could very well be on its way to recovery. It has been too many years in a row that we have been wishing for things to get better. Things are finally starting to turn around, but it is still up to us wildlife warriors to make sure things stay on track. We need to sign petitions, make donations, create social media campaigns, and take the world by storm with International Save the Vaquita Day 2016. Let’s keep the pressure on, and never give up the fight.
A very special Christmas gift for someone who truly cares about wildlife is to make a donation to the Vaquita on their behalf. A truly amazing person will genuinely appreciate this gift, even though there is nothing physical to unwrap, although you could get creative and give them something to open, like a stuffed dolphin with a Vaquita donation certificate. (This is a great last-minute gift because there is no shipping involved.)
One of the most exciting developments that occurred this year was Sea Shepherd’s sudden, unprecedented, and impactful involvement in the situation by having a vessel (about to be two vessels!) in the water patrolling the Vaquita refuge, removing nets, photographing Vaquitas, teaming up with the Mexican government, and getting the Mexican Navy to arrest poachers. The first leg of this mission was earlier in 2015, and the second leg just began. They call this campaign Operation Milagro, which is Spanish for miracle. We hope there will be a miracle for the Vaquita! Here are the first four episodes of their new vlog series (click here for the entire playlist, where they post a new video every Tuesday morning), documenting the amazing things they are accomplishing! It’s basically like watching Whale Wars, but much more peaceful! Click here to support Operation Milagro II: http://www.seashepherd.org/milagro2/
The best news of the year is probably the fact that almost no gillnets have been found in the Vaquita’s refuge since enforcement of the 2-year ban began. Because of this, at the very recent 21st biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals in San Francisco (MarMam15), the Mexican government and its Vaquita recovery team was awarded with the first-ever International Conservation Merit Prize. Senator Rafael Pacchiano Alamán received a standing ovation from a huge room of marine mammal scientists and enthusiasts after his optimistic acceptance speech. Mexico must really feel motivated to continue with this tremendous progress, especially now that all eyes are on them.
Take a look at these two sonar readings of fishing boats in the Vaquita refuge, one from the 2008 survey, and one from this year’s. This is wonderful news (photo via Twitter courtesy of Emily McParland from the MarMam15 conference):
The new issue of the Journal of Marine Animals and Their Ecology just came out, and this one is exclusively about the Vaquita! This is a great issue, with many worthy reads. William Whittenbury and I wrote an article in this issue about why everyone should care about the Vaquita’s survival. Check it out!
I will sign off for the year (unless there is a huge announcement or breaking news in the next week) with a throwback to 2011. Exactly 4 years ago, I wrote this poem as a tribute to the classic work “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clark Moore. It was one of my first poems on this blog, so don’t be too critical.
See you in 2016 for The Year of the Vaquita, and have a wonderful V-mas!
‘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,
It is definitely a must-watch with some wonderful information and insight from a world-renowned porpoise expert.
Some ways you can help the Vaquita on V-day are buying my Vaquita book, writing a letter to the Mexican government showing your appreciation for their actions, donating to CEDO or VIVA Vaquita, sharing a Vaquita post on social media, or making a sustainable seafood dish. It all makes a difference.
With the holidays right around the corner, now’s the time to start buying gifts for your loved ones. Money is tight these days, so gifts where some the proceeds go to a good cause is a great deal. Luckily for you, there are many such gifts that are related to the Vaquita! Let’s take a look.
The CEDO Eco Shop is a wonderful place to buy awesome gifts for the holiday season. From Vaquita t-shirts to booklets, to even a special link to Amazon that gives a portion of any purchase to CEDO, they have it all.
CEDO works extensively with the Vaquita, so it is one of the best charities to donate to.
Another wonderful holiday gift for that special someone would be CEDO wine, complete with one of six creatures of the Gulf on the label (of course including the Vaquita). And a portion of the proceeds goes to CEDO!
And my final suggestion is a Save the Vaquita! t-shirt from the Muskwa Club’s campaign, with 100% of the proceeds going to this non-profit. Remember, if 34 t-shirts are not bought, none will not be printed. So please, support a great cause and look stylish while you do it: https://www.booster.com/savethevaquita97
17-year-old Frédérique Lucas from the Netherlands, known on deviantART as Namu the Orca, is the Muskwa Club’s first international member! She is an extremely talented artist with a passion for nature, especially cetaceans. She has agreed to do some Vaquita artwork to help raise awareness for the world’s most endangered marine mammal, so keep an eye out for some incredible Vaquita paintings in the near future!
“Muskwa’s latest harebrained scheme continued to take shape this month. Viva Vaquita!—The Musical is already gathering widespread support amongst the South Bay and Peninsula theater communities.
The full-length musical will follow the basic plot line of Muskwa’s YouTube serials while injecting lively musical numbers in a Baja California setting.
Muskwa held the first development meeting on December 12 at Peninsula High. President William Whittenbury and local theater veteran Ashley Trutanich discussed the various aspects of musical production, including costs, sets, and necessary personnel. Muskwa’s musical will be original, so the organization will be able to avoid the crippling expenses often incurred by rights purchases.
In addition, Muskwan Hannah Hilden and noted Peninsula newscaster Natalie Edelstein have agreed to join the cast. Many others have also expressed interest. Local parent and talented artist Nancy Parsons has agreed to paint the sets, noting that she has always wanted to paint underwater backdrops.
Ms. Parsons is known for her beautiful sets for the Point Vicente Elementary Variety Shows, which formed a be-loved part of many Muskwans’ childhoods.
A tentative timetable would see the musical continue development for the duration of the school year, followed by performances in the summer. All profits will go directly to Vaquita charities.
¡Viva Vaquita! has also given us the go-ahead to use their name for the show, so it will be officially titled Viva Vaquita!—The Musical. Go Muskwa!”
It has been a spectacular year for the Vaquita and me. V-log got over 6,200 views from 68 countries in 2013, which is that many more people learning about the Vaquita. Check out this awesome report of this year on V-log, created by WordPress and with cool graphics: Click here to see the complete report.
I got some great art supplies for Christmas, and I started a Vaquita painting that should be finished within the next few weeks. In addition, I have plans to create prints and sell an original canvas painting, so stay tuned!
It’s official! International (yes, International) Save the Vaquita Day 2014 is on July 12th! This year promises to have more, better, and bigger venues than ever. Look out for an ISTVD 2014 logo in the very near future, as well as official updates on the event as venues are confirmed. Here is a wonderful picture by Uko Gorter. Let’s make 2014 the “Year of the Vaquita”!
Please don’t forget to think about the Vaquita over the holidays. I know it is hard to worry about a porpoise while you are chowing down on a warm apple pie, but the little things really do make a huge difference. For example, you can Adopt-a-Vaquita for someone as a gift, or donate a few dollars from a Christmas card to ¡Viva Vaquita!. Maybe make a Vaquita-conscious holiday meal, buy a beautiful Vaquita item from ¡Viva Vaquita!’s gift store (with the new Memuco collection), or easiest of all, write a Facebook post or Tweet about everyone’s favorite critically endangered porpoise. And please, show us what you did! Leave a comment or shoot me an email at email@example.com saying the wonderful things you came up with this holiday season!
My book is now being sold in the Point Vicente Interpretive Center! The Center, located in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, adjacent to the Point Vincente Lighthouse, is dedicated to teaching its visitors about the history of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. They hosted one of Muskwa’s Vaquita tables on July 6 for National Save the Vaquita Day, and have been a very useful ally in our efforts. They will now be holding my book in their gift shop!
In addition, the gift shop will be having a book signing this Saturday, November 9, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, where you can pick up a pre-signed copy of my book (I obviously cannot be there, considering I am 2,726 miles away). If you live in the area, please stop by to explore the Center and get a copy of the world’s first Vaquita book!
Also, please subscribe to TheMuskwaclub on YouTube. They have some great videos, including The Vanishing Vaquita. You do not need to have a YouTube account to subscribe. If they reach 100 subscribers, they can begin some awesome new projects that will be very entertaining and informative.
Chris Johnson of earthOCEAN, creator of the http://vaquita.tv/ website and the famous Vaquita documentary, “Last Chance for the Desert Porpoise,” has recently released a new short film about the Vaquita, titled “Saving the Desert Porpoise.” It is an update on the documentary from 2008, with new info, graphics, and interviews. It is a perfect video to get completely up to date on the Vaquita’s situation. Please read Chris’s article about the film and watch it below: http://vaquita.tv/blog/2013/10/04/new-vaquita-short-film/.
Please read this awesome article and Take the Pledge to help Change the Course restore the Colorado River and save the Vaquita! You can also text ‘RIVER’ to 77177 to take the pledge and receive updates on the project. For each pledge, 1,000 gallons of water will be added back to the Colorado River! Please take the pledge to use less water and save the Colorado, which could be another piece in the puzzle of saving the Vaquita. The enormous river used to flow in massive amounts into the Gulf of California, until the delta was riddled with dams. It is not known for sure how such damming affects the Vaquita, but we do know that the water needs to be returned to the Gulf for political reasons, which you can read about in the article above. The Change the Course project is a coalition of TakePart, National Geographic, Participant Media, and BEF, and you can watch a video about the project below:
Muskwa’s informational video is finally on YouTube! Below you can watch the wonderful video, which has a script by me and William Whittenbury, and features some of my drawings (the ones that say Aidan Bodeo-Lomicky). The video is very well put together, with beautiful music and entertaining videography. Please watch it to learn all about the Vaquita in the spirit of National Save the Vaquita Day!