Photo credit Paula Olson, permit Oficio No. DR/488/08 from the Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT)

Status: Critically Endangered

  • The vaquita, a small porpoise found only in the Gulf of California in Mexico, is one of the most critically endangered marine mammals in the world.
  • The population was last assessed in 1997 and estimated at 500-600 individuals, but is now thought to be below 200.
  • The biggest threat to vaquitas is accidental trapping in fishing equipment. They’re also threatened by habitat change and water pollution.

What the AZA Community is Doing

  • In the past five years alone, the AZA community has invested over $50,000 in vaquita conservation.
  • Most projects involve assessing wild populations, creating photo and video records, and conservation education programs.
  • AZA SAFE will further these efforts by harnessing the collective power of the 229 AZA member institutions and our 180 million visitors, connecting partners, and creating and executing a conservation action plan to help vaquitas in the wild.

Read more about vaquita conservation on >

How You Can Help


Spread the word! Let your friends and family know that vaquitas need our help.

ZAmap1200x900Visit: Your visit to an AZA-accredited zoo or aquarium not only supports the well-being of the animals you see, but also supports conservation efforts. Find an institution near you

SAFE_TailsUpGuess who? Download our free TailsUp! app and play with your friends. It’s free to download but offers in-app purchases – and 100% of AZA’s proceeds supports conservation work. Available on the iTunes store and Google Play.