Scientists say there may now be fewer than 30 vaquitas left.
According to the Center For Biological Diversity, vaquitas are about the size of small humans, topping out at about 5 feet long and 120 pounds, with black borders around their expressive eyes and rounded mouth. They’re known to be shy and elusive — but all too easy to scoop up in alarming numbers in fishing nets. Their numbers have plummeted from 200 in 2012. The primary threat to vaquitas is entanglement in fishing gear, including in nets set for the totoaba, a large and endangered fish endemic to the Gulf. Totoaba swim bladders are illegally exported to Asia to make soup perceived to have medicinal properties.