Two Golden Rumped Elephant Shrews and a Horton Plains slender loris, save: vaquitas!!
(This concept shot is right before the loris decides to go ride the vaquita.)
If searching for a cute character to draw, or an inspiring story to tell, consider the most endangered marine mammals in the world: vaquitas!
Swimming in a small reserve at the northern end of the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California, only 50 miles from the US border) vaquitas have never been hunted, their food sources are not over-fished, and locals and the Mexican government support efforts to preserve them.
The problem is they drown in cheap common nylon fishing nets — all the time. There are only a few hundred left, several dozen die annually. Their plight needs public attention desperately.
Fortunately they are the cutest creatures conceivable. The ‘desert porpoise’ is at the very heart of Mexico.
Proposals to prevent vaquita extinction include:
1) Extend the southern border of the Upper Gulf Biosphere Reserve to include their entire range.
2) Terminate all shrimp and gill net fishing in the Reserve.
3) Employ former fishermen from the Reserve in sustainable occupations. (This is not as difficult as it seems, the largest town on the banks of the reserve has a population of only 20,000 persons.)
“You don’t have to solve all the world’s problems. Pick out one that you feel
especially close to and concentrate on it.” (Seeger)
This is Kanon — which in Japanese means “flower sound”! Isn’t that wonderful?? : ) She’s a proactive energetic hermit crab from Taiji fed up with misguided humans polluting her cove with blood from murdered dolphins. She’s headed out to drum up support — she’ll get it!
A serious flaw in “The Cove” was the lack of native Japanese anti-whaling and animal rights spokespersons. Disrespectful, angry 40 year old adolescents with soul patches from Malibu were offensive, embarrassing, and lethal.
Cetaceans are saved by including criticism of European killings in the Faroes, Iceland, and Norway — and dolphinariums throughout the world — rather than treating all Japanese complicit in Taiji murders.
This is the first in a series of characters associated with animal rights. Jaquita the Vaquita will be next — she’s a hoot! Vaquitas (“little cows” in Spanish) are the rarest and most endangered species of marine mammal. There are only about 240 in the world. They’re little tiny super cute dolphins which exist only in the upper Sea of Cortez in Northern Mexico.
The Mexican government has created a nature reserve covering the upper part of the Gulf of California and the Colorado River delta. Our hope is this reserve will be extended southwards to cover the full known Vaquita range and that net trawlers will be completely banned from the reserve.