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Statement: GWC Saddened by Loss of Vaquita During Field Operations

Global Wildlife Conservation is this week sending its sincerest condolences to the VaquitaCPR rescue team, who reported that a vaquita porpoise died during field operations to rescue the world’s most threatened marine mammal. Because all other options to save and recover the vaquita have proven ineffective, the best option left to save the species from otherwise certain extinction is to bring the last 30 or so individual animals into a captive breeding program while efforts continue to remove the threat of deadly gill nets from their habitat. These animals have been victims of widespread killing as by-catch though the use of illegal gill nets facilitated by poaching and lack of enforcement. Ideally, conservation efforts to save endangered species are effectively implemented before there are so few left in the wild that the best option left is a capture operation. However, if effective conservation solutions can’t be found for wild populations in time, then capture and conservation breeding programs implemented by the world’s best veterinarians and biologists can be a successful solution. We cannot shy away from risk when the risk of doing nothing condemns a species to extinction. Conservation breeding programs do work and are a viable solution for some species, as we’ve seen with the successful recovery of the California condor, black-footed ferrets and the Kihansi Spray Toad. We commend VaquitaCPR’s rescue team for trying to save this species and await the advice of experts in the field on how best to proceed from here.

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Global Wildlife Conservation
GWC preserves the diversity of life on Earth by protecting wildlands, conserving wildlife, and supporting local guardians. We maximize our impact through scientific research, biodiversity exploration, habitat preservation, endangered species protection, and environmental leadership development. Learn more at http://globalwildlife.org

About the Author

Lindsay Renick Mayer

Lindsay Renick Mayer

Lindsay is the associate director of communications for Global Wildlife Conservation and has a particular interest in leveraging communications to inspire conservation action. Lindsay is passionate about species-based conservation and finding compelling ways to tell stories that demonstrate the value of all of the planet’s critters, big and microscopic.