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Vaquita (Phocoena sinus)

Vaquita
Vaquita (Photo: Thomas A. Jefferson)

The vaquita is one of the world's most rare marine mammals. It was first described in 1958. Due to its elusive nature, little is known about it. Vaquita are similar to harbor porpoises with respect to life span, patterns of growth, age at sexual maturity, seasonal reproduction, and mating season. In contrast to the harbor porpoise, the calving interval for adult female vaquita may be greater than one year. This has important implications for the potential growth rate of the population and therefore its ability to compensate for human-related sources of mortality and recover from low population levels. The vaquita is found only in the shallow (<50 m), near shore (<40 km) waters of the northern Gulf of California (Mexico).

Range and Habitat:

Northwestern corner of the Gulf of California

Status under Law:

Endangered (ESA)

Conservation issues:

Incidental take in commercial gillnets, critically small population size, international collaboration

Physical characteristics:

At Birth At Maturity
Length 70-78 cm
(28-31")
1.45-1.5 m
(4'9"-4'11")
Weight More than 7.5 kg
(17 lb)
45-50 kg
(100-110 lb)

Age:

Approximately 20 years

Annual Report:

For more information, see the Vaquita section from the 2002 Annual Report

Additional Links:


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