2023 AUG 11
Environment and Ecology > Biodiversity > Species in news
Why in news?
- The International Whaling Commission (IWC) has issued its first ‘extinction alert’ on the Vaquita Porpoise.
About Vaquita Porpoise:
- Vaquita Porpoise is the world’s smallest cetacean. It is also known as the “panda of the sea” for the distinctive black circles around its eyes, along with a proportionally large dorsal fin.
- The vaquita is unique among the porpoises as it is the only species of that family found in warm waters.
- A dark ring around the eyes is its most striking feature, along with a proportionally large dorsal fin.
- It is only found in the northern-most part of the Gulf of California, Mexico.
- IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
- CITES: Appendix I
- The vaquita population has been declining continuously for decades due to bycatch in gillnet set to catch shrimp and fish including totoaba.
- Its numbers have fallen from a population of approximately 570 in 1997 to around 10 animals in 2018.
What are Porpoises?
- Porpoises are among the smallest members of the cetacean family (whales, porpoises and dolphins).
- They are only distant relatives of dolphins (they last had a common ancestor roughly 15 million years ago).
- There are only seven species of porpoise; the most popular being the widely distributed harbour porpoise.
With reference to ‘Vaquita Porpoise’, consider the following statements:
1. They are generally found in warm waters
2. They are widely populated in Indian Ocean
3. They are the world’s smallest cetacean
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 and 3 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 2 only
(d) 1,2 and 3