Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto pledged, in the presence of Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio, to step up his government’s efforts to rescue the endangered Pacific vaquita porpoise. In May, Leonardo DiCaprio had asked his millions of followers on Twitter and Instagram to sign a request to ask the Mexican President to make more efforts to protect the very rare marine mammal and a smaller cetacean in the world.
Peña Nieto replied by writing seven messages in English on Twitter, recalling his government’s efforts to rescue this species endemic in the waters of the Gulf of California. With this agreement, the Mexican government is committed to stepping up efforts to protect the marine ecosystem of the Californian Bay where the vaquita (Spanish cow) lives, in particular, there are only 30 such marine mammals left in this habitat.
The program is supported by the establishment of Di Caprio and that of the Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim. This action aims to “ensure that the Gulf of California will remain alive and productive, especially for endangered species such as vaquita,” the actor said at the signing of the agreement, as the Mexican presidency announced.
The smallest cetacean in the world, measuring just 1.5 meters, has been decimated for years as it is trapped in the illegal nets used by smugglers to fish another endangered species, the Tootamba, which is sought after by its shuttle bladder once dried sold on the black market in China.
Every tootaja shuttle blasts cost up to $ 20,000 ($ 17,770) in Asia, according to the US authorities. The Mexican President developed naval patrols in 2015 to stop illegal fishing. It extended the surface of the protected area and banned the presence of nets in an area of 13,000 square kilometers for two years.
Despite these measures, the population of the Pacific vaquita has declined dramatically in recent years. In May, WWF warned that due to the absence of extraordinary action, the species could disappear in 2018.