VIVA Vaquita partner, Save The Whales has joined with nonprofits, zoos, and aquariums across the country. This campaign is to encourage newly seated Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to continue his country's initiatives to save the vaquita, the world's most endangered marine mammal.
The "1 Million Cards'' postcard-writing campaign urges Obrador to continue Mexico's efforts to protect the small vaquita porpoise, only found in Baja's Upper Gulf of California.
The goal is to seek protection for the fewer than 30 remaining vaquita porpoises from becoming killed. Vaquita are drowned in illegal fishing practices aimed to capture the totoaba fish (also endangered), which includes the use of gill nets.
"We are slipping into the 11th hour to save the vaquitas from becoming extinct,” said Maris Sidenstecker, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Save The Whales. “The plea from school children in the 1980’s helped save dolphins from becoming bycatch in the tuna fishing industry. The student outcry helped enact dolphin safe fishing methods. This is why we are focusing our efforts on the students in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. Students have so much influence when they raise their voices in unison; we hope their plea will make a difference for the vaquita. This little porpoise can only be saved with the support of the Mexican government.''
Save The Whales is bringing Hope, their life size model of a vaquita calf to schools in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. Educators will give a brief 10 minute presentation followed by the signing of the postcards. Student artwork will also be collected and delivered in bulk with the postcards to the Mexican consulate in San Diego at the end of this month and again at the end of January.
In addition to preserving the vaquita, a long-term goal is that of a sustainable seafood market sourced from the Upper Gulf which will benefit the local economy and other wildlife in the area.
To have your classroom, school, church, or environmental club participate in this postcard drive in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, please contact:
Save The Whales
Seaside, CA 93955
Photos taken under permit (Oficio No. DR/488/08 from the Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturale Protegidas (CONANP/Secretaría del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT), within a natural protected area subject to special management and decreed as such by the Mexican Government. This work was made possible thanks to the collaboration and support of the Coordinador de Investigación y Conservación de Mamíferos Marinos at the Instituto Nacional de Ecología (INE).