Meet the Vaquita

The vaquita, a rare small porpoise living in the northern part of the Gulf of California, is nearing extinction at a rapid pace. Illegal fishing with gillnets has increased the decline of vaquita to 34 percent per year, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It is a fact that these animals will become extinct if we ignore this issue. There are fewer than 30 remaining today.

We need emergency action to rescue a number of the remaining animals from their dangerous environment and temporarily relocate them to a safe haven in the northern Gulf of California. The Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA) wholeheartedly supports its research member the National Marine Mammal Foundation (NMMF) and its partners in the international Vaquita CPR initiative. This bold conservation plan is aimed at preventing the vaquita’s extinction.

Vaquita illustration

Learn More About the Vaquita's Battle to Survive

Despite heroic efforts by the Mexican government to stop illegal gillnet fishing, hundreds of vaquitas have drowned from entanglement in those nets the past several years.

In an unprecedented move demonstrating its commitment to conservation, the Mexican government instituted a gillnet ban throughout the vaquitas’ range, provided financial compensation to affected fishermen, and established strong enforcement measures. Still, illegal gillnet fishing continues, targeting a specific fish that is also endangered (the totoaba).

The emergency action plan developed by the Consortium for Vaquita Conservation, Protection and Recovery ( was adopted by the Mexican government’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). Under the plan, animals will be located, rescued, housed and cared for by animal specialists and veterinarians. A sanctuary sea pen will be constructed. The vaquitas will be released once their habitat is free of gillnets. Rescuing the vaquita may be impossible, but if we don’t try, these tiny survivors will disappear.

The plan will be implemented in tandem with Mexico’s ongoing efforts to end illegal fishing and remove gillnets from the Upper Gulf of California.

Please consider making an immediate donation and share this urgent call to action.

AMMPA Support

The Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquarium’s (AMMPA) is an international association representing the world’s leading marine life parks, aquariums, zoos, and research facilities dedicated to the highest standards of care for marine mammals and to their conservation in the wild.

The following organizations are contributing scientific, veterinary and animal expertise to the Vaquita CPR initiative:

Vaquita illustration

AMMPA member early donations this year include: