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Episode Summary:

Today on the show we’re talking about vaquita conservation and a new Wild Lens film project that will be focused on the struggle to save this species from extinction. We’re talking with Sean Bogle, who is the Director and Producer on this new project, but we’ll also be hearing from Ben Mirin in a new vaquita-themed segment of the Birds and the Beats. Ben has created a new song blending the vocalizations of the vaquita with his own beatboxing and he’ll be sharing this song on the show today. Ben will also be sharing this new vaquita song in RINGTONE format as a reward item on our kickstarter campaign for our new film!

Sean in the Farallon Islands.

Sean in the Farallon Islands.

After hearing from Ben, our conversation with Sean Bogle begins. Sean has been a producer on our Eyes on Conservation series for the past several years and he has recently embarked upon his first feature length film project, Souls of the Vermilion Sea. Sean talks about his inspiration for taking on this new project and explains how he first got involved in vaquita conservation efforts.

We also talk at length about the issues facing vaquita populations and what has driving this species’ dramatic decline. There are fewer than 100 individual vaquita porpoises left in the Northern Gulf of California, which is the only spot on the planet where they occur. Sean explains how the use of gill nets by fisherman in this region is killing vaquita, and how the recent increase in demand for the swim bladder of a fish called the Totoaba has led to a crash in vaquita populations.

Sean and I also spend some time chatting about our shared goals for this new feature length film project, Souls of the Vermilion Sea. We explain that this will be a long-term project, with the goal of capturing the progress of efforts to bring the vaquita back from the brink of extinction as they play out over the next three years. Scientists have projected that if the present conditions in the Gulf of California persist, the vaquita will be extinct by 2018 – and we plan to continue shooting throughout this critical period.

Of course a film project like this can’t happen without funding, and we have released this episode of the podcast ahead of our usual Wednesday release to coincide with the launch of our kickstarter campaign for Souls of the Vermilion Sea. As discussed in the episode – a pledge of ANY AMOUNT towards this campaign will be hugely beneficial as we work, not just to raise the funds necessary to continue production, but to raise awareness and reach a much wider audience with this important message. So if you’ve enjoyed this conversation about the struggle to save the vaquita, please take a look at our kickstarter page, make a pledge and share the project around with friends and family who might be interested in learning more about this fascinating marine mammal species.


Film trailer:



Kickstarter page for Souls of the Vermilion Sea

Souls of the Vermilion Sea website

Souls of the Vermilion Sea facebook page


Listen to the podcast episode here:

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