Mexico announced plans yesterday to use trained dolphins to corral the last remaining vaquita marina porpoises into a protected breeding ground, a last-ditch bid to save the critically endangered species.
Scientists estimate there are just 30 remaining vaquitas, the world’s smallest porpoise, a species found only in the waters of the Gulf of California. Environment Minister Rafael Pacchiano said the authorities would deploy dolphins trained by the US Navy to herd as many vaquitas as possible into a marine refuge.
He admitted the project, due to start in September, would be difficult.
“We’ve spent the past year working alongside the US Navy with a group of dolphins they had trained to search for missing SCUBA divers. We’ve been training them to locate the vaquitas,” he said in an interview with radio network Formula.