Leonardo DiCaprio addresses Mexico’s near-extinct vaquita

Mexico City, Q.R. — US actor Leonardo DiCaprio has reached out to Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto to take urgent steps to save vaquita that inhabit the shores of the Gulf of California.

DiCaprio, who is a leader in the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) campaign, made the request in a message published on his Instagram account, urging the government to take notice of the nearly-extinct mammal.

In a report published by Marine Mammal Commission, the organization warned that of the 60 cetaceans that existed, only half remain. And in just five years, the population of this species has nearly been eliminated.

The vaquita is the smallest existing porpoise and is endemic to the Upper Gulf of California in Mexico. Their main threat is being caught in gillnets where it is trapped and drowned. Most of these mesh nets are used illegally to catch shrimp and totoaba, a fish also in danger of extinction.

Gustavo Ampugnani, head of Greenpeace Mexico, said “We know what must happen to save the vaquitas in their natural habitat: to stop the fishing of totoaba, but not only from the surveillance side, but also with the application of socio-economic support policies in the region to involve the communities in the protection of vaquita.”

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