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Even fewer critically endangered vaquitas sighted in Mexico this year

Vaquita porpoise
Paula Olson/NOAA Fisheries
norights | contributor
Scientists have saved tissues cells from two female vaquita porpoises.

The number of vaquita porpoises, a critically endangered mammal in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, may have dropped to new lows, environmental groups say.

Researchers with the Sea Shepherd organization say only six to eight of the porpoises were sighted this year. But they said some of the few remaining vaquitas may have moved to other waters in the Sea of Cortez, that’s their only habitat. In 2023, ten to thirteen were counted over a two week period. This year’s search was not as extensive but also, no baby vaquitas were seen.

Researchers have said that illegal fishing nets, used to catch the endangered totoaba fish, have killed off the vaquita.

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.