Vaquita - Last Chance for the Desert Porpoise (2010) is a science documentary project exploring the decline of the critically endangered vaquita porpoise. 

The Vaquita is the world’s smallest porpoise. They live only in the northern reaches of the Gulf of California, Mexico. In 2008, scientists estimated that 200 animals remained.

This shy, elusive porpoise is disappearing due to accidental entanglement in fishing nets set for shrimp. Following the loss of the Baiji (Yangtze River Dolphin) in 2006, the Vaquita is the next marine mammal in line for extinction.

In October 2008, Chris Johnson traveled to San Felipe, Mexico to follow an international scientific expedition to document and monitor the last remaining Vaquita. This expedition marks the beginning of an all out, last-ditch effort to save the little known Vaquita. With so few animals remaining, time is critical. The Mexican government has a two year plan to remove gillnets from the water to save the Vaquita. What does that mean for families in an area of limited economic opportunity where fishing is the only source of income? Vaquita - Last Chance for the Desert Porpoise" is a documentary film and social media project. This is part one of a seven part series.

 
 

INTRODUCTION (1)

Vaquita - Last Chance for the Desert Porpoise" is a documentary film and social media project. This is part one of a seven part series (2009).

 

ABOUT VAQUITA (2)

The Vaquita porpoise is the world’s smallest and most endangered cetacean.They live only in the northern reaches of the Gulf of California. In part 2, we learn more about this mysterious marine mammal. 

 

Why are Vaquita disappearing? (3)

The Vaquita porpoise is disappearing due to accidental bycatch in gillnets. Bycatch is a problem for cetaceans worldwide. 

 
 

EXPEDITION VAQUITA (2008) (4)

In 2008, international scientists came together using multiple research vessels to embark on a unique co-operative scientific expedition to study the fragile vaquita population. For two months, I documented the scientific expedition in the upper gulf of California, Mexico.

 
 

Vaquita conservation (5)

We meet the people trying to implement a plan to save vaquita. Alejandro Robles is the director of Noereste Sustentable (NOS) an NGO based in Mexico. He has been involved with Vaquita conservation efforts for over 35 years.

 
 

Communities in the Upper Gulf (6)

We meet fishermen and people from El Golfo de Santa Clara, Mexico. With socio-economic concerns of local communities in the Upper Gulf at the forefront, can a plan to save the vaquita be devised in time, and if so, can it work?

 
 

The Future (7)

What is the future for vaquita? Can the species be saved in time? In the final segment of the documentary, Vaquita - Last Chance for the Desert Porpoise, I return to Santa Clara a year later to see the changes in the community and see of the buyout program is working.