Endangered porpoises have new allies on their side as earlier this week, Leonardo DiCaprio signed an agreement together with the Mexican president to try and protect and save vaquitas, the most endangered marine mammal in the world.
This new agreement was signed by DiCaprio, an Oscar-winning actor and known environmental activist. It was also signed by billionaire Carlos Slim, and Enrique Peña Nieto, the President of Mexico.
— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) June 7, 2017
Vaquitas are Classified As a “Critically Endangered” Species
Vaquitas can only be found in the Mexican Gulf of California or Sea of Cortez. According to a 1997 survey, there were around 600 specimens still alive at the time. However, this number marked a dramatic fall as there are believed to be only around 30 remaining individuals.
This is according to data gathered by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The drastic decrease also brought a status change. This species is currently classified as “critically endangered” in the “Red List Of Threatened Species” of the IUCN.
Gillnets, used in fishing, are considered the main reason for this species’ population decline.
The protection agreement was signed by the three men on June 07. Its purpose will be to protect the endangered porpoises by eradicating the local use of gillnets. It will try to do so by turning their temporary usage ban into a permanent one.
“This action is a critical step towards ensuring that the Gulf of California continues to be both vibrant and productive, especially for species like the critically endangered vaquita,” stated DiCaprio.
The gillnet ban will be backed by both his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and the Carlos Slim Foundation. These will also fund local developments and help the area by offering fishing options that do not include the use of gillnets.
This new agreement is also supported by other organizations, including the WWF, as well.
This group issued a statement following the signing of the agreement in which it stated this is a “key step”. One that could help ensure the vaquita’s “prosperous” future. But also one that will advantage both the wildlife and the people living in the Upper Golf of California in Mexico.
Various other protection measurements are already being developed to try and save this now extremely rare species.
Image Source: Flickr