Vaquita: Science, Politics, and Crime in the Sea of Cortez

Island Press
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In 2006, vaquita, a diminutive porpoise making its home in the Upper Gulf of California, inheritedthe dubious title of world's most endangered marine mammal.Nicknamed "panda of the sea” for their small size and beguiling facial markings, vaquitas have been in decline for decades, dying by the hundreds in gillnets intended for commercially valuable fish, as wellas for anendangered fish called totoaba. When international crime cartels discovered a lucrative trade in the swim bladders of totoaba, illegal gillnetting went rampant, and now the lives of the few remaining vaquitas hang in the balance.

Author Brooke Bessesen takes us on a journey to Mexico's Upper Gulf region to uncover the story. She interviewed townspeople, fishermen, scientists, and activists, teasing apart a complex story filled with villains and heroes, a story whose outcome is unclear.When diplomatic and political efforts to save the little porpoise failed, Bessesen followed a team of veterinary experts in a binational effort to capture the last remaining vaquitas and breed them in captivity—the best hope for their survival. In this fast-paced, soul-searing tale, she learned that there are no easy answers when extinction is profitable.

Whether the rescue attempt succeeds or fails, the world must ask itself hard questions. When vaquita and the totoaba are gone, the black market will turn to the next vulnerable species. What will we do then?
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About the author

Brooke Bessesen has worked with wildlife for over thirty years in animal rescue, veterinary medicine, and field biology. As a research fellow, she has conducted marine studies in Costa Rica and authored several scientific articles, including one naming a new taxon of sea snake. She has also written five children's books and a popular Arizona wildlife guide. As the founder of Authors for Earth Day, she directs an international coalition of authors who educate school kids about conservation.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Island Press
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Published on
Sep 11, 2018
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9781610919326
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Nature / Animals / Marine Life
Nature / Endangered Species
Nature / Environmental Conservation & Protection
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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WINNER OF THE 2017 NASW SCIENCE IN SOCIETY JOURNALISM AWARD
A FINALIST FOR THE 2017 PEN/E. O. WILSON LITERARY SCIENCE WRITING AWARD
LONGLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE
A LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST SCIENCE BOOK OF THE YEAR

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