Today’s guest on the show is Tom Jefferson, a marine mammal researcher and the director of Viva Vaquita, an NGO dedicated to the conservation of the vaquita.
Here at Wild Lens, we’ve been actively involved in vaquita conservation for a year and a half through our work producing the documentary, Souls of the Vermilion Sea. 2016 was a milestone year for vaquita conservation – efforts to save the species from extinction were ramped up considerably and the species received more mainstream media coverage than ever before. Despite this, the vaquita population in the upper gulf of California has continued its precipitous rate of decline, with the increased conservation efforts having no measurable impact.
This culminated just a few weeks ago when the Mexican Minister of the Environment, Rafael Pacchiano, announced that Mexico would take steps in 2017 to launch a captive breeding program for the vaquita. Although vaquita experts have been discussing this option for a number of years, it was always viewed as a last ditch effort – something only worth attempting if all other options had been expended. Well – it is now clear that we have reached that point.
EOC producer Sean Bogle and I got Tom on the line to do a year in review for the vaquita, as well as to answer some of our burning questions about the what a captive breeding program for the vaquita may look like.
Watch our short film: Searching for the Vaquita
Tags: captive breeding, endangered porpoise, endangered species, Gulf of California, marine mammal conservation, Mexico conservation, sea of cortez, Vaquita, vaquita conservation