Wild Fact #672 – A Little Heavy on the Lipstick – Vaquita

First of all I would like to wish all our American readers a Happy Thanksgiving.  It is a great time to take a moment and reflect on everything big and small in your life that you can be grateful for.  With that said, I am personally grateful for all the amazing readers that wander into Wild Facts.  Thank you to all of you for making this such a fun and exciting endeavour.

Today we are going to the sea to learn about a very rare porpoise called the Vaquita.  It is believed that there is less than 600 of these individuals left in the wild which is unfortunate since they are so cute.  Not only do they get the special designation of being critically endangered but they also win the award for being the worlds smallest porpoise.  An adult Vaquita will typically grow to about 1.5 m (4.92′) and can weigh up to 50 kg (110.2 lbs).  If the size doesn’t help you distinguish them from other porpoises than you can always rely on their large black eye rings or their dark lip patches.  I suppose the “gothic” look is very big in the Vaquita world.

Vaquita Size Comparison (Wikicommons)

If you want to catch a glimpse of these extremely rare animals, you will need to take a trip to the Gulf of California.  While you are there you will need to check out some of the shallow, murky lagoons along the shoreline since this is where they prefer to hang out.  Just a quick word of warning though.  They will be tough to spot since the Vaquita tends to be very elusive and will typically avoid boats.  To make sightings even more difficult is the fact that they hardly break the surface of the water when they come up for air.  They use a slow, forward-rolling movement that barely sends a ripple across the surface of the water.  Good luck with your search of this rare, elusive animal.  Be sure to let me know if you spot one!

Vaquita Fast Fact – Well we are aware that the population of Vaquita’s in the wild are low so what is causing this decline?  For once, habitat destruction is not the major cause.  It is actually incidental catches in fishing nets that are creating a huge problem for these beloved creatures.  Another issue is also arising for this small population of Vaquita.  Climate change could potentially be changing their food availability as well as their habitat conditions.  Is there anything Climate Change doesn’t impact?

Well that does it for me on this Thankful Day!  Enjoy the rest of your day.

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