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Vaquita, the rarest porpoise

Vaquita is the rarest species of porpoise which is the world’s smallest cetacean.Their natural habitat is the northern end of the Gulf of California. This unique marine mammal is critically in danger and its estimated population includes hardly 150 individuals. Vaquita ( Phocoena sinus ) belongs to the family, Phocoenidae and falls in the order, Cetacea. Vaquita is term used in Spanish as “little cow” and they are also known as Cochito. Perhaps the nameis given to Vaquita due to their amazing physical description. Vaquitas have distinctive dark rings around the eyes and mouth, and a dark stripe from the chin to the base of the flipper.

The Rare Vaquita

The color of the upper side of the body of Vaquita is dark grey while the underside of the body is off-white. The approximate body length of Vaquita is 120-150 cm which can be slightly varied in male and female Vaquita. The diet of Vaquita includes Bony fish and Squids and they can weigh up to 50 Kg. They are usually observed living in the warm shallow waters of the Gulf of California and they travel in a group of 1-3 individuals. The reproduction in Vaquitas occurs seasonal and the female Vaquita gives birth to a single young in the month of March. The average life span of Vaquita is observed as 21 years.

Vaquita’s populations is continuously decreasing and they are listed in the Red list of threatened species of IUCN. The conservation strategies are under process to safeguard Vaquita, the rarest popoise in marine life. Although Vaquitas are not threatened by direct hunting but they are usually killed incidentally being stuck in fishing gears. Many restrictions are imposed for fishing where the remaining reserve of Vaquita is existing and this area is declared as a buffer zone. Vaquitas are also listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act by the  government of the United States.

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