PS 82-83 - Why do species go extinct: A closer look at implementation gaps in vaquita (Phocoena sinus) conservation

Friday, August 7, 2009
Exhibit Hall NE & SE, Albuquerque Convention Center
Adriana Leiva, Department of Life Sciences, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, Ecological Society of America SEEDS Fellowship, Corpus Christi, TX and Lisa T. Ballance, NOAA Fisheries, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, La Jolla, CA

The vaquita (Phocoena sinus) is one of six true porpoises (Phocoenidae) that can still be found around the world.  A great amount of time and resources have been spent on the conservation of the vaquita since 1976 when Bernardo Villa-Ramirez reported high concern for the size and status of the population, yet little has been accomplished to reassure the continuation of this species in the Gulf of California. The vaquita was classified as vulnerable by the International Union of Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in 1978, as endangered in 1990 and as critically endangered in 1996 and the most critically endangered cetacean since 2007 after the baiji (Lipotes vexillifer) was declared extinct.   


Implementation gaps are conservation strategies which have failed to be executed for a particular project.  Because there is continued mortality of the vaquita due to anthropogenic effects, the focus of this study is to identify the implementation gaps involved in the conservation of the vaquita.  In this study, the explicit reasons for incidental mortality and lack of community participation will be defined.

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Banner photo by Flickr user greg westfall.