BENEFITING: EAST COAST ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF FLORIDA INC
Meet the world’s most endangered marine mammal, the vaquita. Since 2007, vaquita populations have gone from 250 to 30 due to deadly gillnets used by fisherman in the only place they call home, in the upper Gulf of California in Mexico. The Mexican government has been heroic in trying to protect vaquitas, placing a 2-year ban on gillnets in their home range, enforcing illegal fishing and compensating fisherman affected by the ban ($72 million). At this point, human intervention is necessary because if we don’t act now, the vaquita could disappear as early as next year.
The Mexican government has determined an emergency action is needed to temporarily remove some of the remaining animals from their threatening environment and create a safe haven for them in the northern Gulf of California with ultimate goal to return the animals to a gillnet-free environment. The action plan was developed by an international team of experts, with field recovery operations set to begin in May 2017.
Taking these few remaining animals into human care is a last-ditch effort to save them and success is by no means guaranteed. But we feel it is important to try. We don’t want them going extinct on our watch because we were unwilling to take a risk. But we need your help to even have a chance.
Officials estimate the plan will cost more than $3 million in 2017 and will rely on a variety of funding sources, including donations from the public, private organizations, and non-profit groups. Many AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are helping to raise these necessary dollars and we hope you will consider a small gift to save this species from extinction. Brevard Zoo will match funds raised up to $2,500.