The Vaquita Porpoise

The vaquita, the world’s smallest cetacean, is found only in the northernmost tip of the Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez. It is estimated that there are fewer than 30 individuals of this beautiful species remaining in the sea today. Sea Shepherd is determined to help this shy and elusive porpoise beat the odds, bringing about a miracle to restore the vaquita population from the brink of extinction.

About the vaquita:

  • The vaquita is the most endangered marine mammal in the world.
  • Estimates based on acoustic research indicate that there are less than 60 vaquita remaining.
  • Of the 30 individuals, it is estimated that less than half are reproductive age females.
  • The vaquita inhabit only the waters of the upper Gulf of California.
  • The vaquita population has decreased by 18.5% per year in recent years.
  • The government of Mexico, determined to prevent the vaquita's extinction, enacted a two-year moratorium on fishing with gillnets in the vaquita’s habitat.
  • The vaquita is also known as the “smiley panda of the sea” because of the dark circles around its eyes and mouth.
  • Vaquita have a comparatively short lifespan of approximately 20 years compared to other porpoises and have never been held in captivity. With a slower rate of reproduction than that of other porpoises – they birth up to only one calf every two years – these petite porpoises are being wiped out faster than they can reproduce.

The vaquita has been listed as critically endangered since 1996. Scientists have been warning for nearly 20 years that the only way to save the vaquita is to eliminate the presence of gillnets in the only region that this species calls home.

Vaquita porpoises. Photo: Paula Olson/NOAAVaquita porpoise. Photo: Paula Olson/NOAA

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Milagro III

Op Milagro V - Update Video 2
Take a look at the life of the crew onboard The M/V Farley Mowat and Sea Shepherd's work to protect the vaquita porpoise. Support our mission at: https://goo.gl/wJqxyh
#OpMilagro V Video Update
#OpMilagro V Video Update. Check out the life aboard The M/V Farley Mowat. This is a compilation from the early days of campaign. Enjoy. Support our mission to save the most endangered marine mammal in the world at: https://goo.gl/rWY1cM
SEA SHEPHERD JOINS SEARCH AND RECOVERY OF MEXICAN NAVY HELICOPTER
During the late afternoon of Saturday, October 20th, 2018, a Mexican Navy helicopter crashed into the ocean while engaged in anti-poaching patrols over the Vaquita Refuge in the Upper Gulf of California (a.k.a. Sea of Cortez). The reason for the cras...
Sea Shepherd's Operation Milagro V Launch
#BREAKING #OpMilagro V started! Sea Shepherd Initiates Early Patrols to Safeguard Survival of Critically Endangered Vaquita Porpoise Sea Shepherd vessel The M/V Farley Mowat has arrived in the Upper Gulf of California to start Operation Milagro earl...
Sea Shepherd Recycled Dive Weights
Sea Shepherd recycled Branded Dive Weights are AVAILABLE NOW at: https://shop.paulwatson.com They were made from illegal fishing nets captured in the Sea of Cortez. Limited amount available so get them while you can in 2lb, 3lb and 4lb. This ensure...
Sea Shepherd Works with Legal Fishermen to Protect the Vaquita
Sea Shepherd recycled Branded Dive Weights are AVAILABLE NOW at: https://shop.paulwatson.com Operation Heavy Metal is a Sea Shepherd effort to address the materials from illegal fishing gear we retrieved during #OpMilagro. We have been working with...
Operation Milagro IV: Sea Shepherd’s Most Successful Vaquita Defense Campaign
Operation Milagro IV has come to an end, but Sea Shepherd will be back in the vaquita refuge soon. This has been one of the most effective Sea Shepherd campaigns to date. We removed more fishing gear than all previous #OpMilagro campaigns combined. T...
Miracles happen: Sea Shepherd Crew saves a Smalltail Shark
Milagro means Miracle in Spanish. Sea Shepherd named Operation Milagro this way because a Miracle was needed to save the vaquita porpoise. It has been 4 years and there is still hope. Sea Shepherd will not give up. Over the past 4 years we have se...
Thank you Mexican Navy
Today is Mexican Navy Day! We thank these brave man and women for their service and for protecting the vaquita porpoise. Learn more about our partnership at www.seashepherd.org/milagro Hoy es el Día de la Marina Nacional en México. Sea Shepherd ag...
STRENGTHENED PARTNERSHIP WITH MEXICO BRINGS RENEWED HOPE FOR VAQUITA
Mexican Government Enforcement Officers start joint operations on board Sea Shepherd vessels, bolstering chances for survival of endangered vaquita porpoise and addressing security concerns in the region. Read more at: https://goo.gl/UK4cM6
OPERATION MILAGRO IV - By-catch
The crew of Sea Shepherd's Sharpie finds a shark delivering babies on a net. This is the gruesome result of by-catch. Join the fight to protect the oceans at: www.seashepherd.org
OPERATION MILAGRO IV - Retrieving illegal nets and saving lives.
Milestone for The M/V Farley Mowat May 10th 2018 150 Pieces of Illegal Fishing Gear 596 Entangled Animals TOTAL COUNT FOR #OpMIlagro IV is currently: 364 Pieces of Illegal Fishing Gear 1701 Entangled Animals 747 LIVES SAVED On the evening of May 10...
Sea Shepherd Saves Leatherback Turtle on Earth Day 2018
Sea Shepherd crew saves the life of an adult leatherback turtle entangled in illegal gillnet in the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico - a Federally Protected and UNESCO listed Area Read more at: https://goo.gl/Z976Hz Support us at: https://goo.gl/CK7N...
SHOTS FIRED AT SEA SHEPHERD'S M/V SHARPIE
On the night of April 10th, 2018, SHOTS WERE FIRED AT SEA SHEPHERD'S The M/V Sharpie Operation Milagro IV 31 27.31 N 114 45.63 W At 7:46 pm on the night of April 10th, while retrieving an illegal gillnet approximately 8 nautical miles off the Baja...
SEA SHEPHERD SAVES 25 CRITICALLY ENDANGERED TOTOABAS IN THE HEIGHT OF SPAWNING SEASON
Conservationists intercept and remove illegal gillnet minutes before recovery by poachers, saving entire school of totoaba bass from black market trade. Read the full article at: https://goo.gl/DJYxj6 Help us protect the oceans: https://goo.gl/YyLcv...
Sea Shepherd Improves Techniques to Save the Vaquita Porpoise.
Sea Shepherd is always improving techniques to better protect our oceans! Learn more about Operation Milagro at: www.seashepherd.org/Milagro Donate at: https://goo.gl/2sAS9r
Three Ships, One Mission: To Save a Species.
Sea Shepherd has 3 vessels in the Sea of Cortez to protect the #VaquitaMarina porpoise. This is the first time in the history of #OpMilagro that we have 3 vessels in the area dedicated to removing nets. Removing the illegal gillnets is the reason wh...
Nets
How many destructive nets will it take to understand that If the Oceans Die, We Die. Support #OpMilagro at: https://goo.gl/1XLQD4 Learn more about Operation Milagro at: www.seashepherd.org/milagro
Every Single Life Matters.
We fight for life, for biodiversity, #ForTheOceans Every single life matters. Because in the end "If the Oceans Die, We die" Captain Paul Watson. To learn more about Operation Milagro please visit: www.seashepherd.org/milagro To support us: https://...
To Save A Species
Poachers threaten our crew and shot at our drone one more time. WE WILL NOT GIVE UP ON THE VAQUITA. Join us by supporting our mission at https://goo.gl/2sAS9r
We Are Together
TO ALL PARENTS, CHILDREN AND LOVED ONES: Sea Shepherd has 32 extraordinary people in the waters of the Gulf of California, Mexico. The crew members on board The M/V Farley Mowat and The M/V John Paul DeJoria have one mission: To save the smallest, r...
EXTINCTION IS FOREVER - The Totoaba Fight
The totoaba bass is a critically endangered species. Totoabas share their waters with the vaquita porpoise, the most endangered marine mammal in the world. Both face this dire situation because of the illegal trade of totoaba swim bladders. Due to ...
SEA SHEPHERD FREES ENDANGERED TOTOABA FOLLOWING SECOND DRONE SHOOTING
#BREAKING SEA SHEPHERD FREES ENDANGERED TOTOABA FOLLOWING SECOND DRONE SHOOTING Despite gunshots being fired at its drone again,Sea Shepherd, together with the Mexican Navy, drove poachers off the protected vaquita refuge and saved the life of an end...
SEA SHEPHERD NIGHT DRONE SHOT DOWN BY POACHERS
SEA SHEPHERD NIGHT DRONE SHOT DOWN BY POACHERS Tension rises in the fight to protect the critically endangered vaquita porpoise. On Chrismas eve, the crew of the M/V Jean Paul Dejoria was surprised by gunfire. Read the article: https://goo.gl/ULQ...