International Save the Vaquita Day is intended to be an annual event similar to Earth Day, but with a specific focus on raising awareness and appreciation of the world’s most endangered marine mammal, the vaquita (Phocoena sinus). Events around the globe direct the attention of people to the plight of this tiny porpoise species, and what needs to be done to save it from extinction. There are booths, games, music, free prizes, educational brochures, inspirational talks, face painting, and several life-size models of vaquitas on hand to draw attention to and appreciation of the vaquita, Mexico’s “Panda of the Sea”.
The primary goal is to make as many people as possible aware of the vaquita and its plight, and spur them to act. The species is nearly extinct, with only <30 individuals left, and declining at about 50% per year! We will have a simple message for folks about what they can do to help. Secondary goals are to gather signatures for our petitions to the Mexican government, and also to raise additional funds for future educational and research work on the vaquita. The event is designed to be fun, as well as educational, and kid-friendly!
In 2018, we organized International Save the Vaquita Day (ISTV Day) on Saturday, July 7th. This event featured 34 booths and other venues at sites in southern California, various cities in the US, and all over the world. The venues included 9 aquaria and 12 museums/zoos. There were experts on hand to answer questions, educational demonstrations, seminars, children’s games and events, face-painting, passing out of brochures and coloring books, etc. At one site (Seaport Village in San Diego) there was even live music – the steel drum band Salsa Steel!
The primary goal was to make as many people as possible aware of the vaquita and its plight, and spur them to act. The events were all very peaceful, and respectful of the Mexican fishing culture. It is estimated that over 26,000 people were directly educated about the vaquita at the various events on ISTV Day 2018, with over 250,000 more educated through social media postings. Our website visits in the week after the event reached a record 173,476 visits!