Conserving the Vaquita Species Research Paper

Conserving the Vaquita Species
An exploration of the vaquita, Phocoena sinus, a smallmarine Cetacean that is facing extinction.
# 153355 | 2,483 words | 9 sources | APA | 2012 | CA
Published on May 24, 2013 in Biology (Marine) , Environmental Studies (Wildlife Protection) , Biology (Ecology)

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The paper provides an introduction to the vaquita, Phocoena sinus, that is the world's smallest and rarest cetacean in the world and could very well be on the brink of extinction if conservation efforts fail. The paper explains the Vaquita's biology and ecological behavior as well as the cultural significance or value to this species and its economic importance. The paper explores the threats facing the Vaquita and examines the conservation efforts undertaken in 1993, 1997 and 2005. The paper concludes that with the increasing conservation measures, there could still be hope for this critically endangered species. The paper includes a photo of the vaquita.

Table of Contents:
Introduction to the Vaquita, Phocoena sinus
The Fundamental Biology of the Vaquita
Ecological Behavior of the Vaquita
Sociocultural Values
Economic Importance
Threats to the Vaquita
Conservation Efforts Toward the Vaquita

From the Paper:

"Little is known about this porpoise's life history, longevity, age of sexual maturity, reproductive cycle or population dynamics. However, most of what is known has been primarily based on what scientists can draw from their bodies after being entangled in nets, or other species of similar mammals, such as the Yangtze River Baiji, Lipotesvexillifer (Johnson, 2011). Therefore, it has been hypothesized that the age of sexual maturity isbetween three and six (Reeves et al., 2006; WWF, 2011), and the life span around twenty-one years of age (Defenders of Wildlife, 2012). These mammals take part in breeding in the spring or summer with the births following around the spring. A female possibly produces one calf every two years after a gestation period estimated at eleven months and the young are nursed for around six to eight months (WWF, 2011). There also seems to be an importance in sperm competition in the vaquita'sreproductive strategy due to the small group sizes (Reeves et al., 2006). This means that males are likely trying to maximize their fitness by mating with as many females as possible.
"Due to the vaquita's small size, inconspicuous surfacing behavior, small group size, relatively long dive times and general avoidance of moving boats (Reeves et al., 2006), not much is known about the social structure. However, when the species has been viewed, it has been primarily seen alone or in groups of two to four individuals, but groups of ten individual have been reported (WWF, 2011), but many such groups can be loosely aggregated over several square kilometers (IUCN, 2012)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • D'agrosa, C. &Lennert-Cody, C. & Vidal, O. 2000.VaquitaBycatch in Mexico's Artisanal Gillnet Fisheries: Driving a Small Population to Extinction. Conservation Biology, 14, 1110-1119.Doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1739.2000.98191.x
  • Defenders of Wildlife. (2012). Vaquita: Phocoena sinus. Retrieved from
  • Gerrodette, T. & Rojas-Bracho, L. 2011. Estimating the success of protected areas for The vaquita, Phoceona sinus.Marine Mammal Science, 27, E101-E125.doi: 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2010.00449.x
  • IUCN. 2012. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.Retrieved from
  • Johnson, C. (2011). Vaquita: Last Chance for the Desert Porpoise. earthOCEAN media.Retrieved from

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

Conserving the Vaquita Species (2013, May 24) Retrieved March 04, 2024, from

MLA Format

"Conserving the Vaquita Species" 24 May 2013. Web. 04 March. 2024. <>