Vaquita porpoise – Today Current Affairs
- According to the United States Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), the vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus) is near extinction and urgent protection measures are needed to save its remaining population.
Today Current affairs
- Porpoises are one of the smallest members of the cetacean family (whales, porpoises and dolphins).
- They are only remotely related to dolphins (they had a common ancestor about 15 million years ago).
- There are only seven species of porpoise; their most popular species is the widely found harbor porpoise.
- There are several species, including the vaquita, that are rarely studied. Whatever information we have got about them has been obtained after the study of the same organisms that reach the shores by flowing with the ocean waves.
Vaquita Porpoise : The Hindu Analysis
- Vaquita (Phocoena sinus) is the smallest cetacean in the world. Its name means “little cow” in Spanish.
- It has a dark ring around its eyes which is its most distinctive feature, as well as its proportionally large dorsal fins.
- It is unique among all porpoises in that it is the only species in the family to live in warm waters, and it is believed that its dorsal fins are adapted to live in warmer waters, which allow excess body heat to adapt.
- Like many other species of porpoise, the vaquita is shy and cunning and will evade when it comes into contact with boats.
Accommodation : The Hindu Analysis
- This species is found only in the northern Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez). They are usually found in shallow water (up to a depth of 50 m).
To risk : The Hindu Analysis
- The vaquita’s population has declined drastically over the decades. In recent times, gill-nets used to catch the totoaba (a large fish whose swim bladders are in high demand) have reduced their numbers further.
- Fixed fishing nets (gill-nets) used for fishing often trap small creatures, known as by-catches.
Protection status : The Hindu Analysis
- IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered.