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On October 12, Mexico will begin capturing remaining Vaquita porpoises


An effort to capture the few remaining vaquita porpoises in Mexico’s Gulf of California will start next week.

Mexican authorities and an international group of experts say they will set out on Oct. 12 in small boats to find the elusive marine mammals with the assistance of trained dolphins.

Despite Mexico’s campaign to help the species, which are the world’s smallest and rarest type of porpoises, the number of remaining vaquitas is estimated to have dropped below 30.

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Vaquitas are often caught in nets illegally set to catch totoaba fish, whose bladder is prized in China.

Mexico enacted a permanent ban on gillnet fishing in the northern Gulf of California earlier this year.

Related: Mexico invests up to $3 million dollars in Vaquita Sanctuary plan, U.S. trained dolphins will aide in search for endangered vaquita porpoises