Tag Archives: Porpoise

Rare Species: Vaquita


The Vaquita is the rarest marine mammal in the world; a little porpoise, that wasn’t discovered until 1958. Now, almost 60 years on and they are on the brink of extinction. They are often caught in nets in marine protected areas, within Mexico’s Gulf of California, and drown as a result. Sadly, more than half of the population has been lost in the last three years.

The Vaquita is pale grey along its’ sides, dark grey on the dorsal surface (on top), and light grey/ white ventral surface (along the bottom). They have dark rings around the eyes and lips, and a dark thin line from the lips to the pectoral (front, side) fins. Newborns are darker in colour, with pale grey along the dorsal surface and head.

Since the freshwater River Dolphin species, the Baiji, went extinct in 2006 the Vaquita has taken the title of the world’s most endangered cetacean. As of 2016, there is suspected to be less than 30 left in the wild; a drastic drop in numbers since 1997 when there were approximately 600 in the wild.

The poaching of the endangered Totoaba fish, for its’ swim bladder – a Chinese delicacy, using gill-nets (fixed fishing nets) is the main cause of the Vaquita’s declining numbers. Vaquita’s get caught in gill-nets, and drown, as they cannot get free to get to the surface for air.

Gill-nets, though usually put in place for a single species, do not discriminate – many different species get caught, and often die. Whales, dolphins and porpoises all get trapped – some get away with injuries, whilst most die.

Dr. Anna Hall, of the Porpoise Conservation Society, said, There is nothing else we need to worry about other than gill-nets. If we remove the gill-nets, we will likely save the Vaquita.”


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


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Want To Know More? Dolphins


As a response to a message asking to know more about Dolphins, here is some information you may not have known…

Dolphins are highly intelligent marine mammals. The order Cetacean includes the marine mammals commonly known as whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Dolphins are part of the family of toothed whales Odontoceti; also including orcas (killer whales) and pilot whales. Most species live in tropical and temperate oceans throughout the world; a few species live in the world’s rivers (such as the endangered Amazon river dolphin a.k.a. the pink river dolphin). There are 36 species of dolphins – 32 marine species, and 4 river (freshwater)species.

Amazon River Dolphin
Amazon River Dolphin

Dolphins are carnivores, mostly eating crustaceans, fish and squid. They have clever methods of catching fish, and getting a good meal out of big shoals. They trap the shoal close to the surface of the water, and blow bubble “walls” or “nets” to keep the shoal together. The dolphins then take it in turns between blowing bubbles and feeding. Some will also slide up onto beaches (almost beach themselves) to catch fish in the shallows.

Common Long-Beaked Dolphins Hunting

Dolphins, like bats, use echolocation to navigate and hunt, bouncing high-pitched sounds off of objects, and listening for the echoes. They can find food, each other, navigate around their environment, and locate objects with echolocation. They have a special organ for echolocation known as the melon organ. The melon also helps with hearing via echolocation They use their teeth as a type of antennae so that they can receive information about incoming sounds. They get information about the size and the shape of the object, before they actually see it, through this process.  The melon is located in the forehead, in front of the skull.

Bottlenose Dolphin

 Dolphins have complex and large social and family groups. They are very loyal and will not abandon a family member in need or is in injured. Unfortunately, this makes them easier to hunt – humans have hunted them by trapping a few in shallower water and injuring them, the rest of their family will then not abandon them, and any relations of the others will not leave… you see my meaning (unfortunately).

A group of dolphins is known as a pod. The males are bulls, the females cows, and the young are known as calves.

Mother & Calf (Bottlenose)
Mother & Calf (Bottlenose)

Dolphins have such diverse appearances – big ones, small(er) ones, striped ones, spotted ones, plain ones, long beaks (snouts), short beaks, round heads, long heads, tall dorsal fin, short dorsal fine, arched back, straight back… The Largest of all dolphin species can grow to over 31 feet long when fully grown, which has provided them with the incorrect name of “whale” – the Orca, more commonly known as Killer Whale. The smallest known species is the Maui’s dolphin, growing up to 5 ft 6 – 7 inches. So to finish this post, here are some photo’s of different dolphin species of all shapes and sizes!
(Hover over , or click on, the individual images to see the species name)


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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