Angry Fishermen in Mexico Attack Officials Trying to Save A Critically Endangered Vaquita Porpoise
For years, U.S. and Mexican authorities and conservationists have been tirelessly working to save from extinction the rapidly dwindling population of tiny, cartoonish vaquita porpoises that swim in the Gulf of California.
Since 2011, the vaquita — the world’s smallest cetacean — have fallen victim to the illegal fish trade, collateral damage that has reduced the population from an estimated 200 in 2012 to 30.
Vaquita advocates have desperately tried nearly everything to save the creatures: government regulation, poacher patrols, U.S. military dolphins and a far-fetched, risky captivity plan.
And while the efforts are viewed by conservationists as a valiant — albeit futile — rescue mission, relations with the local fishermen responsible for decimating the porpoises have grown only more fraught.
The tension turned to violence Wednesday when what the Associated Press described as a “gang of dozens of fishermen” attacked inspectors from Mexico’s office for environmental protection in the gulf-side town of Golfo de Santa Clara, southeast of Tijuana.
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