The Vaquita Is A Tiny Porpoise, And It’s Actually The World’s Rarest Mammal And The World’s Most Endangered Marine Mammal

Victor - - illustrative purposes only

When I write “world’s rarest mammal,” what creature comes to mind? Do you picture a super exotic-looking lion or bear or something that mysteriously crawls around jungles hardly ever visited by humans?

Well, the mammal is considered to be the world’s rarest and is also known as the world’s most endangered marine mammal.

That mammal is the vaquita, a small porpoise that may look similar to a dolphin but is much less common in the wild. 

The vaquita is a teeny porpoise species found in the upper Gulf of California in Mexico. They were discovered not that long ago, in 1958, and unfortunately, experts estimate that there are only around 10 of them left in the wild, pushing them to the brink of extinction.

These cute little porpoises are only about five feet long, making them shorter than other dolphins and whales you see in the wild. They’ve got round little faces that make it look as if they have a cartoonish smile.

So, why is the vaquita population dwindling so quickly, and what has caused their decline?

Unfortunately, it has to do with fishing and gillnets. Gillnets are a specific form of netting that creates a wall structure.

The netting is big enough for many fish and marine species to get their heads through, but not their entire bodies.

When a fish gets its head caught in a gillnet, the netting gets entangled in their gills as they struggle to break free, hence the name.

Victor – – illustrative purposes only

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