Vaquita small Porpoise

Phocoena sinus

Status: Critically Endangered

Population: 30

The rarest marine mammal in the world is on the edge of extinction, and could be gone by this year, according to World Wildlife Fund. This relatively small porpoise lives in Mexico’s Gulf of California, where they are often caught and drowned in gillnets used by illegal fishing operations in marine protected areas, despite efforts by Mexico to protect it. In August, a U.S. federal judge ordered a fishing embargo against Mexico to protect the vaquita, according to media reports.

Photo: Paula Olson/NOAA

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