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Vaquita porpoise near extinction in Mexico

Paula Olsen/NOAA

The vaquita is a type of porpoise found only in the Gulf of California off Baja, Mexico.

A porpoise known as the Vaquita - or "little cow" translated from Spanish - is the most endangered marine mammal species in the world. It swims in the Gulf of California - also known as the Sea of Cortez - off Baja California and its population is disappearing at an alarming rate.

Recently a team of scientists delivered a report to the Mexican government with recommendations to save the vaquita. Barbara Taylor was part of that team. She said the population has been cut in half since only 2012 from 200 members to only 97.

Vaquitas get caught and drown in fishing line in the Gulf of California. In recent years, demand for a type of fish bladder from the Totoaba, a large fish used in Chinese medicine and fished illegally in the Gulf, has exacerbated the situation.


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