There are now less than 19 individual vaquita porpoises left in the wild, according to an alarming new survey.
If fishing nets continue to be used illegally off the coast of Mexico, vaquita porpoises (Phocoena sinus) will likely become extinct within a year, according to new research published in Royal Society Open Science.
As the new research shows, and despite measures taken by the Mexican government in 2015 to crack down on the use of illegal nets, the population of vaquita porpoises continues to decline.
On average, females measure around 140 centimeters (55 inches) in length, while males are slightly shorter at 135 centimeters (53 inches) long.
Vaquitas, which translates to “small cow” in Spanish, have a gray or white complexion, a tall dorsal fin, dark eye rings, and long flippers.
To that end, they recorded the echolocating clicks made by vaquitas across a large grid of acoustic sensors spread across the water.