A Sense Of Porpoise
One would like to think that if volunteers were needed for the Mexican Government’s plans to save the vaquita porpoise, the world’s most endangered marine species, from extinction there would be no shortage of hands being raised. Or should that be fins? For the programme involves dolphins being trained by the US Navy to locate and shepherd the vaquitas to an area that is free from gillnets – the nets are largely to blame for the drop in the numbers of porpoises living in the Gulf of California to less than 40. Mexico’s Environment Minister Rafael Pacchiano told Formula radio, “We’ve spent the past year working alongside the US Navy with a group of dolphins they had trained to search for missing scuba divers…We’ve been training them to locate the vaquitas. We have to guarantee we capture the largest possible number of vaquitas to have an opportunity to save them.” It is hoped that the dolphins, together with a ban on the use of gillnets, will bring the porpoise back from the brink. Wouldn’t that just be fintastic?