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Vaquita Presentation - Dr. Tom Jefferson

Vaquita Presentation - Dr. Tom Jefferson



Slides from Dr. Tom Jefferson's vaquita presentation at El Dorado Ranch, San Felipe, Mexico 6/25/10

Slides from Dr. Tom Jefferson's vaquita presentation at El Dorado Ranch, San Felipe, Mexico 6/25/10



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    Vaquita Presentation - Dr. Tom Jefferson Vaquita Presentation - Dr. Tom Jefferson Presentation Transcript

    • ¡Viva Vaquita! Can We Save the World’s Most Endangered Marine Mammal Species? Thomas A. Jefferson Cetos Research Organization, San Diego, CA
    • Acknowledgements
      • EDR for inviting me here
      • Main research collaborators: T. Kieckhefer, T. Nowlan, S. Spencer, J. Muskus, and L. Rojas-Bracho
      • Team Vaquita : A. & S. Baldridge, S. Eastham, D. Glim, T. Kieckhefer, D. Kutz, R. Puckett, R. Rodriguez, Maris Sidenstecker I, Maris Sidenstecker II
      • General support: H. Chan, SWFSC staff
      • Many volunteers
      • Funding sources and SEMARNAT
    • Funding Sources Anonymous Foundation
    • Talk Outline
      • History of marine mammal extinctions
      • Background on the vaquita
      • Brief summary of our 2008 photo project
      • Education/public awareness efforts
      • What you can do and concluding thoughts
    • Steller’s Sea Cow - EXTINCT The last individual killed in 1768, 27 years after discovery
    • Northern Elephant Seal - RECOVERED Reduced to about 50 individuals near turn of the 20th Century
    • Gray Whale - RECOVERED ENP Stock twice reduced to near extinction, but has since recovered
    • West Indian Monk Seal - EXTINCT Wiped out by sealing and collections for museums in the 1950s
    • Baiji - EXTINCT Declared extinct in 2006, as a result of habitat destruction
    • Take Home Message
      • We have had mixed success at saving endangered marine mammals
      • We’re pretty good at saving them from direct hunting
      • We don’t have a very good a record when the problems are varied and involve habitat destruction
    • Six Species of Porpoises - Four Species of Phocoena Spectacled Porpoise Harbor Porpoise Burmeister’s Porpoise Vaquita
    • Two Species in Other Genera - Dall’s and Finless Porpoises Dall’s Porpoise Finless Porpoise
    • What’s a Vaquita?
      • The vaquita is a small porpoise in the family Phocoenidae.
      • It is one of only seven species of true porpoises.
      • It is found in a tiny area in the extreme northern Gulf of California.
      • It is a unique species, with a body shape and color pattern unlike that of any other.
      • It has a tall dorsal fin and a beautiful color pattern, with dark eye rings and lip patches.
      • ‘ Panda of the Sea’.
      A. Robles
    • Vaquita Facts
      • Vaquita means “little cow” in Spanish.
      • At about 5 feet (1.5 m), the smallest cetacean.
      • Lives only about a 4 hour drive from San Diego.
      • Give birth only every other year.
      • Live to be about 20-21 years old.
      • Never been held in aquaria.
      • Rarest and most-endangered marine mammal.
      • Fate is tied to that of the upper Gulf ecosystem.
    • Species Only Described in 1958
    • Vaquita Distribution Most restricted distribution of ANY marine cetacean < 4,000 km 2 (1/4 the size of the LA area)
    • Shallow Depths San Felipe Occurs only in the shallow (10-50 m) depths of the northern Gulf of California
    • High Productivity San Felipe Vaquita habitat is highly productive
    • The Problem - Gillnets
    • The Solution - Remove Gillnets
      • Plan to compensate gillnet fishermen for giving up gillnet fishing in the vaquita’s range.
      • Done through a ‘buy-out’ program, a ‘rent-out’ program, and the development of alternative fishing gear.
      • We applaud Mexico for these efforts.
      • However, recent economic events have slowed progress.
      • The vaquita does not have time to wait…
    • History of the Population
      • Vaquita abundance - solid line
      • Capture history of totoaba - circles
      • Number of gillnet pangas - squares
      • Est. annual vaquita mortality - triangles
      Source : Jaramillo-Legorreta 2008
    • Latest Abundance Estimate
      • Tim Gerrodette (SWFSC) has generated a new estimate from the 2008 Jordan survey data
      • Best estimate is 250 individuals
      • This does NOT indicate an increase in abundance
      • Decline rate can not be estimated accurately, but its clear a decline has occurred since 1997
    • Mexico’s Large Gillnet Fleet
    • Shrimp Trawling
    • Among Highest Conservation Priorities of All Mammals Vaquita Source : Isaac et al. 2007 - “ Mammals on the EDGE…”
    • Existing Photos - Dead Porpoises A. Robles A. Robles
    • Best Photos Before 2008 - Blurry, Grainy Images G. Silber G. Ybarra Only previous photo to show a vaquita face
    • October 2008 - San Felipe Photo Expedition
    • David Starr Jordan
    • After 18 Frustrating Days… Success! - High-Quality Photos
    • Then… 13 Sightings in 13 Days! Rocas Consag San Felipe Colorado River Delta When seas were calm, and we searched the right area, we found vaquitas
    • All Sightings in Vicinity of Rocas Consag Vaquita Rocas Consag
    • Rocas Consag This island can be seen from anywhere in the range of the species 87 m (285 ft)
    • The Importance of Calm Seas Beaufort 0-2/3, average Beau 0.92
    • Photo-identification IS Possible
    • Four Individuals IDed Nicola Mid-nick Top-nick Fingertip
    • Enforcement Both Navy and PROFEPA were out in force
    • The End?… Hopefully Not for the Vaquita!
    • 2010 Field Work in Mexico
      • We have been conducting field work on the vaquita since 7 June 2010
      • We hope to build up our photo-identification catalog
      • Only a single sighting of vaquitas
      • We have done some local education/awareness work as well
    • Creation of New Website www.vivavaquita.org
    • Sea Otter Classic Booth
      • Viva Vaquita booth at SOC April 16-18, 2010
      • 40-50K people attended the event
      • Great opportunity to preach beyond the converted
      • Come by and support us next year!
    • Education and Public Awareness
      • Special Issue of Whalewatcher
      • Popular/newspaper articles
      • Booths at other outdoor/environmental events
      • Series of lectures and school programs
      • Printing and distribution of brochures
      • Adopt-A-Porpoise program
      • Any other ideas?
    • What you can do...
      • Tell all your friends and family about the vaquita.
      • Vote for politicians with a good environmental record.
      • Support the economy by traveling to Mexico.
      • Don’t buy shrimp or fish caught with gillnets.
      • Write your elected officials and tell them to help.
      • Write letters to Mexico’s Ministry of Environment.
      • Send vaquita drawings to the United Nations.
      • Donate to NGOs with Vaquita Recovery Funds!
    • In 5 or 10 years, will the vaquita still be here? Illustration by Uko Gorter
    • Visit www.vivavaquita.org to learn more about how you can help… ¡Viva Vaquita!