'Aquatic cocaine' may push smallest porpoise to extinction
Vaquitas are the smallest porpoises in the world, only about five feet and one hundred pounds.
They live in a small portion of the Gulf of California and are completely elusive to both scientists and stock photographers.
They were only thought to have existed starting in 1950 and the first one wasn't seen alive until 1985.
You're probably only hearing about them for the first time right now.
The most recent population estimate of the vaquitas puts them at around 60, only sixty. Now what's got their population down from slightly less than 600 in 1997 is the hunt for a fish called the totoaba.
They're a large fish who's also endangered and who bladders are such a delicacy in China that they're nicknamed the money fish or aquatic cocaine.
The problem for the vaquita is that the fishing nets used to wrangle in totoaba are a good size for the endangered porpoises to get caught and die in.
It's still illegal to fish for totoaba but as we know with human beings that won't slow us up.
Thankfully, the Mexican government is doing everything they can to protect the vaquitas but 60 is already a very very small number.
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