The Uncertain Fate of the Vaquita

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The vaquita is the smallest porpoise in the world and also the most endangered. Last year, a scientific survey determined there were about 30 vaquitas left in wild, down from the 60 or so found the previous year. With such low numbers, the species appears to be teetering on the edge of extinction, and scientists are now are developing a daring rescue plan to remove the vaquita from its home in the Gulf of California. To get some background on the situation and more details on the rescue, we spoke to conservation biologist Barbara Taylor. Taylor is a scientist with NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California who has been studying the vaquita for more than 20 years. She is also a lead member of the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita, which is working on the plan remove the species from the wild in order to save it.

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