Today, we are launching a the new Vaquita video at the Society for Marine Mammology Conference in Dunedin, New Zealand,where the world's top marine research scientists are coming together. The theme for the conference is "Marine Mammal Conservation: Science Making a Difference".
In the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico, every sighting of a live vaquita is a good day for the species. Describing any chance encounter with vaquita as incredibly rare is a grand understatement. Photographs of any live animals are few and far between. They only seem to emerge randomly online every two or three years now.
While in El Golfo, I visited the local high school to show video and photos to students of vaquita that I filmed only a few days earlier. Unbelievably, it was the first time anyone had visited them and their school to talk about the vaquita.
For the past year, Miguel Reyes Franco has been taking part in the alternative gear experiments in the region. He gives us an insight into the issues surrounding Vaquita conservation from a fishermen’s perspective.
We are releasing the footage for non-commerical use to educate the general public about the Vaquita porpoise. You may share, post, and use media for educational and non-commercial purposes.
I had the opportunity to spend time with and speak in depth to scientists Barbara Taylor and Tim Gerrodette of the NOAA Fisheries Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California.
Today I joined Catalina Lopez Sagástegui of Noroeste Sustentable (NOS). Their mission is to “construct and implement a long term vision for the region’s sustainable development through a political and social agreement”.
Lorenzo Rojas Bracho has been the 'voice for vaquita' for many years. He is redefining what a ‘scientist’ is in an era full of critical conservation issues for marine mammals.
While we often overlook the smaller life forms in favor of their cuter, more charismatic counterparts, the impact of increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere on less visible species could have enormous ramifications.
I never dreamed I would be in a position to even see vaquita, let alone film the animal in the wild. The stage was set, perfect weather for seeing vaquita.
Scientist Barb Taylor asked me to join a team from the RV David Starr Jordan to document what was happening 5 miles away. Bob Pitman sighted a marine mammal on the “big-eyes” moving erratically.
Windy days have dominated the past week and a half here in the northern Gulf of California frustrating researchers, local fishermen and even myself, the lone filmmaker trying to document “the story”.
Today, I had the opportunity to join the "Corsair", a tri-maran sailing out of San Felipe everyday to search for vaquita. Rather than posting visual observers to find the animals, researchers are listening for the vocalizations underwater.
After settling into the rhythm of San Felipe, adjusting to the heat and pace of this sleepy seaside town, I am spending most of my time with Tom Jefferson and his team, researchers Paula Olson and Tom Kieckhefer.
Today is the beginning of my journey to search for and document the vaquita – the world’s smallest and most endangered cetacean (whale, dolphin or porpoise).
The documentary series - Whales of the Mediterranean Sea - will be shown at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Wednesday October 8, 2008 at 4:10pm.
In October 2008, we travel to San Felipe, Mexico to follow an international scientific expedition to document the last remaining vaquita - the most endangered, and the smallest of all cetaceans.
The series of educational documentary films - Whales of the Mediterranean Sea are now available online subtitled in 6 languages - Spanish, French, German, Italian, Arabic and Greek.
Good news about the marine environment seems to be an increasingly rare occurrence these days. However, there was only celebration in Chile yesterday after a Government announcement declaring Chilean waters a Whale Sanctuary.