… Although the females in certain populations do not have antlers, many do. “The Night Before Christmas”) in 1823, no one thought about reindeer in conjunction with Santa Claus. The word vaquita means "small cow" in Spanish. The vaquita (Phocoena sinus), literally "little cow", is a species of porpoise endemic to the northern end of the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez, Vermilion Sea). The last caribou in the contiguous United States was removed to a Canadian conservation breeding program in 2019. Eyes of vaquita are encircled with black rings. It also has a black line around its lips, which gives the appearance of a smile. Vaquitas grow to almost 5 feet in … Reindeer can see light to 320 nanometers, in the ultraviolet (UV) range. Clement C. Moore’s poem, "A Visit from Saint Nicholas,” introduced the world to Santa’s reindeer and describes them as "tiny." Today on Amazon, upgrade your desktop setup with deep discounts on HD monitors from Samsung. The IUCN ran models using fisheries data, the 1997 population number, and other counts, and estimated that, in the early 20th century, the vaquita population may have been 5000. The vaquita is a small cetacean that lives only in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. During spring, herd size can range from 50,000 to 500,000 individuals, but during the winter the groups are much smaller, when reindeer enter mating season and competition between the bucks begins to split up the crowds. They had no idea whether it would work. Three hours later, they declared the animal dead, likely due to cardiac arrest. Vaquitas are likened to porpoises and often confused with dolphins, but they are smaller, have a chunkier body and have a rounded head with no snout. ", Efforts continue to enforce the gillnet ban and remove gillnets in the reserve, but they may be too little, too late. During certain times of year, you can still tell the sex of a reindeer by checking for antlers. Mexico also provided compensation equivalent to millions of dollars to local people in the fishing industry left high and dry by the ban. Interesting Facts About the Porpoise. Vaquita is Spanish for ‘small cow’ and apparently the word ‘porpoise’ comes from the Latin ‘porcopsicus’ meaning ‘fish pig’. Their pectoral (chest) and dorsal (back) fins are distinctively larger than that of other porpoises. They are the rarest sea mammal in existence. There are only ~10 left in the world. While the first six names all make sense in English, the last two in German mean “thunder” and “flash,” respectively. The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. Some good news came when UNESCO declared the upper Gulf of California a Biosphere Preserve in 1995, but it didn't do much good—just a year later, the IUCN changed the vaquita's status to critically endangered. Good luck deal hunting! Fun Facts for Kids Vaquita is the only porpoise, living in warm waters such as these of the Gulf of California: porpoises inhabit cooler waters, typically lower than 20 degrees Celsius. In Norway, it is still common to find reindeer trapping pits, guiding fences, and bow rests dating from the Stone Age. Here are 11 things to know about the species before it disappears forever. Britain's only herd of free-ranging reindeer live in Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park. In 1997, scientists from the U.S. and Mexico spent days aboard a 170-foot ship motoring in a grid pattern over water up to 165 feet deep, trying to spot and count vaquitas. Vaquitas only live in the northern end of Mexico’s Gulf … One subspecies, the Arctic reindeer of eastern Greenland, is extinct. Since reindeer shed their antlers at different points of the year based on their sex and age, we know that Santa’s reindeer probably aren't older males, because older male reindeer lose their antlers in December and Christmas reindeer are always depicted with their antlers. Vaquita are often caught and drowned in gillnets used by illegal fishing operations in marine protected areas within Mexico's Gulf of California. Where do vaquitas live? They are recognizable by the dark rings around its eyes and mouth and they have a dark stripe that extends from the chin to the flipper. Vaquitas happen to be the smallest of the cetacean order, (whales, dolphins, and porpoises). Others disagreed. When a colleague compared the skulls to those of another porpoise at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at Berkeley, California, they noticed differences striking enough to consider the finds a new species. Vaquitas can communicate with each other and navigate using sonar. The Vaquita. In 2016, it was estimated that there were only 30 of these porpoises left in existence. They feast on fish, prawns and crabs but are known to have particular preference for squid. 1 The vaquita, Phocoena sinus, is the world’s smallest cetacean, weighing around 55 kilos. 1. More information Accept. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. The teeth are flattened and spade-shaped unlike the conical-shaped teeth of dolphins. Adults grow up to 4.92 feet in length and weigh from 50 to 110 lbs. The vaquita is the most endangered marine mammal in the world. "Porpoises generally, like most cetaceans, do not fare well in captivity," Will McCallum of Greenpeace tells Mental Floss. Learn more about what makes them interesting below. Endangered Species Act in 1985 and a year later as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. They also need to come to the surface to breathe. These marine mammals have many unique characteristics. "From the perspective of the fishermen, what they could make legally fishing versus illegally fishing for totoaba, there is enormous incentive," Read tells Mental Floss. 11 Facts About the Vaquita, The World's Most Endangered Porpoise. Veterinarians on the team jumped into the water, realized she wasn't breathing, and attempted to resuscitate her. These porpoises are closely related to the Southern Hemisphere species of porpoise such as the Burmeister porpoise, their closest cousin. There are two major groups of reindeer, the tundra and the woodland, which are divided according to the type of habitat the animal lives in, not their global location. It has a rather large fin on its back for its size. They're homebodies, staying within the northernmost part of the Gulf, and have the smallest range of any cetacean (the taxonomic order including whales, dolphins, and porpoises). Check out our favorite sales below. In fact, these little sea creatures were not discovered until as late as 1958 when three vaquita skulls were discovered on a beach. The upper side of the body is medium to dark gray. Vaquitas, like their harbour porpoise cousins, make loud noises that sound a bit like pig snorts, and porpoises used to be commonly known as ‘puffing pigs’. "We know where they are and what needed to happen to save them in the wild.". Some hope remains, though; cell samples taken by the VaquitaCPR team from the two captured vaquitas have been successfully cultured in the lab and frozen for use in future research. Upper side of the body is grey in color. They're so shy that some locals say they've never seen one. That means Santa’s sled either has to be pulled by young reindeer, constantly replaced as they start to age, or Santa’s reindeer are female. Illegal fishing for an exotic fish, the totoaba is the biggest threat to the Vaquita. Female vaquitas up to 5ft (1.52m) are larger than males vaquitas that have been measured only up to 4.6ft (1.40m). As for how Santa's nine reindeer manage to fly while pulling a sled carrying presents for every child in the whole world, science still hasn’t worked that out. Lips of vaquita are black in color. The vaquita (Phocoena sinus), also known as the Gulf of California harbor porpoise, cochito or Marsopa vaquita is the smallest cetacean. Scientists also plan to use the cells to sequence the vaquita genome. fun facts   The Vaquita was first named by scientist in 1958, and since then not much has been able to be uncovered about the species due to their mysterious nature There have only been 65 confirmed sightings of the marine mammal from 1958 to now, which is larger than the actual number of Vaquita's still in existence! Vaquita is very shy creatures that can be rarely seen in the wild. The Saola, pronounced sow-la, meaning ‘spindle horns’ in Vietnamese, is found in only one place in the world: the Annamite Mountains forests on the border between Vietnam and Laos. As a recurring feature, our team combs the web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Casual conversation is home to a variety of prompts. That’s because males lose their antlers in winter or spring, but females shed theirs in the summer. It can reach 4.6 to 5 feet in length and up to 120 pounds of weight. For the next four years, they acoustically monitored Gulf waters—and were dismayed to see the vaquita population drop by 34 percent per year. 3. The small porpoise is extremely rare as well as endangered. Vaquita is Spanish for ‘small cow’ and apparently the word ‘porpoise’ comes from the Latin ‘porcopsicus’ meaning ‘fish pig’. The group subsequently built a high-tech "floating sea enclosure," which they anchored in the Gulf not too far from the beach where the first vaquita skulls were discovered. They're most closely related to porpoises in South America, but the species diverged from these relatives at least 2.5 million years ago. 2 Females grow to be around 1.5 metres long. Historically, the Eurasian reindeer and American caribou were considered to be different species, but they are actually one and the same: Rangifer tarandus. A study showed that boats from a single fishing port in the upper Gulf accounted for the fatal bycatch of 39 to 84 vaquitas each year—an annual death sentence for 7 to 15 percent of the total population. Life span: Unknown (estimated up to 21 years), Size: Length- female 5ft (1.5m) and males 4.6ft (1.4m), Range: Only in the nothern most area of the Gulf of California. WTF Fun Fact – Vaquita Porpoise June 20, 2020 The Vaquita porpoise is the world’s most endangered marine mammal and also the smallest porpoise. For decades, fishermen after shrimp and finfish such as corvina and sierra unintentionally entangled and drowned vaquitas in their gillnets; these long, curtain-like nets float in the water, snagging the gills of fish and shrimp that swim into them. The team released her, but she panicked, swimming at the net again. Distribution map. It has a small, rounded head and blunt jaws instead of a beak. People fishing illegally for totoaba continue to use gillnets, outweighing any benefit the safer, vaquita-proof nets might have had. Scientists have a hard time making precise estimates of the number of rare and cryptic (hard to find) species such as the vaquita. This ability lets reindeer see things in the icy white of the Arctic that they would otherwise miss—kind of like viewing the glow of a white object under a blacklight. By 2020, ecologists had estimated that no more than 18 adults… The porpoise has a triang… Most species are 5 to 8 feet long and weigh between 100 and 200 pounds. Like many herd animals, the calves learn to walk fast—within only 90 minutes of being born, a baby reindeer can already run. A single dried swim bladder of a totoaba can fetch as much as $50,000 in China, where they are given as gifts, eaten, or used in traditional medicine. Some vaquitas have individually distinctive nicks and notches on their dorsal fins, which makes it possible to identify specific individuals from high-quality photographs. What remains of their populations only lives in the northernmost region of the gulf. Female Svalbard deer begin growing their antlers in summer and keep them all year. Diet of the Porpoise. The only reindeer that could really be considered tiny are the Svalbard subspecies, which weighs about half as much as most reindeer subspecies and are at least a foot shorter in length. "The population was already drastically depleted, and any capture or rounding up adds extra stress to the remaining animals. Averaging 150 cm (4.9 ft) (females) or 140 cm (4.6 ft) (males) in length, it is the smallest of all living cetaceans.Today, the species is on the brink of extinction. Wildscreen's Arkive project was launched in 2003 and grew to become the world's biggest encyclopaedia of life on Earth. Share Flipboard Email Print Animals & Nature. In most deer species, only the male grows antlers, but that’s not true for most reindeer. And in Scandinavia, reindeer is still a popular meat, sold in grocery stores in fresh, canned, and dried forms. They estimated the vaquita population at 245. Conservation groups such as Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society patrol the Gulf for illegal fishing, but the totoaba trade continues. Some of our website features may not function as a result. > Estimates based on acoustic research indicate that there are less than 60 vaquita remaining. Relatively little is known about it, simply because individuals are incredibly hard to find to conduct research. In fact, reindeer used to range as far south as Nevada, Tennessee, and Spain during the Pleistocene area. Since they are elusive, not much is known about the social behaviour or the reproductive cycle of the vaquita. "We should have been perfectly able to save the vaquita,” McCallum says. California and mainland Mexico. In the summer, when the ground is wet, their foot pads are softened, providing them with extra grip. Individual manta rays, for example, can be identified by the spot patterns on their undersides. Humans can see light in a range of wavelengths, from about 700 nanometers (in the red spectrum) to 400 nanometers (in the violet spectrum). At their top speed, these reindeer can run 50 mph and swim at 6.2 mph.
2020 vaquita interesting facts