• POPULATION: About 10 individuals
  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Phocoena sinus
  • HEIGHT: Up to 5 feet
  • WEIGHT: Up to 120 pounds
  • HABITATS: Marine (only in the northern Gulf of California)

Why They Matter

The vaquita is the world’s most endangered cetacean. With only about ten individuals left, the species will become extinct unless a complete gillnet ban is enacted across its entire habitat. The WWF is working hard to guarantee that they can survive and prosper in their natural environment.


If fishing bycatch is not addressed promptly, the vaquita will become extinct. Nearly one in every five vaquita is entangled in gillnets designed for other marine species, such as the totoaba, a critically endangered fish located in the upper Gulf of California. The principal reason for the vaquita’s extinction by the mid-1970s was entanglement in totoaba gillnets. Totoaba were overfished by the mid-1970s, and Mexico and the United States declared them endangered in 1975 and 1979, respectively.


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