Experts say only 22 vaquitas remain in the Gulf of California, the only place where the world’s smallest and most endangered porpoise is found.
Researcher Jorge Urban said Wednesday a commission of experts detected the 22 vaquitas over a network of acoustic monitors in the Gulf, also known as the Sea of Cortez.
The number is higher than many had expected. Some experts had predicted only 12 to 15 would be found, based on previous rates of decline. It may be a sign the vaquita is holding on.
Emboldened fishermen have attacked the vaquita’s last line of defense, environmentalists from the Sea Shepherd group.
Sea Shepherd boats haul in illegal nets set for totoaba, a fish whose swim bladder is delicacy in China. The nets catch and drown vaquitas.