The Vaquita porpoise is in danger of going extinct. Few are left to be seen and efforts are being made to locate them. Trained dolphins help in saving the endangered Vaquita porpoise from extinction.
The dolphins that would be used for the task are US Navy dolphins. The dolphins have originally been trained to locate mines. Now the dolphins have a new mission, and that is to locate the increasingly rare Vaquita porpoise.
Dolphins have a natural sonar which it uses to locate food as well as objects. Scientists hope to use the dolphins in order to locate Vaquita porpoise so as to capture them and place them in a protected area. Vaquita porpoise have been endangered by illegal fishing activities in the Gulf of California near Mexico.
Jim Fallin of the US Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Pacific said that the dolphins would locate Vaquita by surfacing and then going back to the vessel from which they came from. This would signal scientists where a Vaquita porpoise has been found. The US Navy dolphins have been trained by the Navy Marine Mammal Program to specifically look for mines, according to Fox News.
The Vaquita porpoise is the world's smallest porpoise. Though it is not the actual target of illegal fishing, many of the mammals have been entangled in nets by those who have been fishing for totoaba. The totoaba has a bladder that is highly prized in China, as The State reports.
The Vaquita, though, has not been held in captivity successfully so far. The plan is to round up the Vaquita porpoises found and put them in floating pens. The pens would keep them from venturing into areas where illegal fishing activities have been reported.
Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho is chairman of the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita. He has said that the Vaquita will be extinct by 2022 if no efforts are made to save them. Only 60 of the Vaquita are left last year, and it is estimated that only a few dozen remain at the rate their population is declining.
Efforts are being made to save the Vaquita porpoise. Trained dolphins help in saving the endangered Vaquita porpoise. Earlier it has been reported that the world's oldest killer whale has died.