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In today’s show we are exploring and comparing the extinction crises experienced by two very different wildlife species – the California condor, and the vaquita.

If you’ve been following the latest news about the vaquita, then you’ve probably already heard a number of comparisons between the situation faced by this small species of porpoise and that faced by the condor in the early 1980s.  A lot of folks have been drawing this comparison between these two high profile endangered species issues – but how similar are the situations faced by these two animals really?

Having spent six years of my life working very closely with the California condor recovery project – first as a biologist, then as a filmmaker and storyteller, I have been steeped in the natural history and the conservation history of this unique scavenging species.  This is in part why I was so interested in getting involved in telling the story behind the vaquita – I saw it as an opportunity to document this species’ extinction crisis as it unfolds. 

So let’s start with the most obvious similarity that folks have been pointing to – the rate of decline and the low population numbers.  The wild population of California condors dropped to 21 individuals in 1981.  This is quite similar to the latest population estimate that we’ve gotten for the vaquita – 30 individuals as of fall 2016. 

Listen in to hear more about these two unique endangered species issues, including interview clips from prominent experts on both the condor and the vaquita.


Scavenger Hunt trailer


Souls of the Vermilion Sea trailer

watch the full film here


Additional Links:

Scavenger Hunt website

Souls of the Vermilion Sea website

California condor recovery program – US Fish and Wildlife Service

The Peregrine Fund’s condor recovery program

Vaquita CPR

Viva Vaquita

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