Are scientists a threat for vaquitas?

One of the few remaining marines vaquitas died while scientists were examining it

Are scientists a threat for vaquitas?

Leer en Español:  ¿Son los científicos otra amenaza para las vaquitas marinas?

A marine vaquita died while scientists were studying the animal in order to keep it alive for the sake of reproduction. According to the secretary of Environment and Natural Recourses of Mexico, Rafael Pacchiano, the specimen died due to "health complications" while it was in captivity.

The vaquita was captured to protect and study it. The animal was a female in reproductive age. Scientist wanted to determine if it was pregnant or breastfeeding, which was later discarded.

The Mexican government explained that the female was transported into a floating pen in the California Gulf. However, despite the care of the veterinarians, the vaquita's health started to deteriorate; the group decided to release it. Later, the animal died in the ocean. The experts made a necropsy to determine the real causes of death of this endangered mammal.

WWF: the vaquita population is less than 30 species in 2017, half of what it was just the year before

Conservationist groups asked for an immediate pause of the research until the results of the investigation of the vaquita's death are available.

The international research group accepted that taking the animals out of their habitat represents a risk within itself. However, they assured that it is necessary to try to save the specie from the danger of extinction. Experts assured that the risk due to fishing nets are higher than the risk of the rescue and recovery efforts.

According to the International Committee for the Marine Vaquita Recovery, the natural habitat of the animal, the Cortés sea, in the north of Mexico, is becoming more and more dangerous because of shrimp, shark, and Totoaba fishing. The Mexican Government explained that the endangered animal gets trapped in fishing nets and drowns.

Read also: Vaquitas last chance before vanishing

Environmentalists blame the directors of Conapesca and Inapesca of boycotting the governmental efforts for the vaquita conservation. During the month of August, Greenpeace assured that the National Commission Aquaculture and Fishing is neglectful in the fishing nets inspection and the illegal fishing in the Mexican seas.

Experts affirm that the most important and effective solution for the vaquita's rescue is to ban all the illegal fishing nets located in the vaquitas habitat in the California Gulf in Mexico. They ask the Mexican Government to increase their efforts in confiscating these elements that put in danger this marine mammal.



Latin American Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

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