Despite the discouraging numbers, there is still a glimmer of hope for the vaquita. As history has shown us, some marine mammal species have bounced back from the brink of extinction, such as the northern elephant seal and the North Atlantic grey whale. The grey whale was even declared extinct in the 18th century before rebounding to a healthy population.

The key to saving the vaquita lies in eliminating the immediate threat to its habitat. The primary danger comes from gillnets, which are responsible for the dwindling vaquita population. Gillnets are commonly used in the illegal totoaba fishery, a practice that inadvertently leads to the entanglement and subsequent death of these small porpoises. The mesh size in the nets set for totoaba have the perfect size to also catch the vaquita, and once entangled, they drown quickly.

Recent sightings of live vaquita, including calves, give conservationists hope. The fact that vaquita are still reproducing indicates that there is still time to reverse the species’ decline. If the threat of gillnets can be eliminated, the vaquita might stand a chance at recovery.

Additionally, raising awareness and educating the public about the vaquita’s plight is essential. When people understand the urgency of the situation, they are more likely to support conservation efforts and make sustainable choices in their seafood consumption.