Wild Ark, founded by Mark and Sophie Hutchinson, hopes to promote biodiversity around the globe. The couple operate Pridelands in South Africa. It is their aim for people to experience the world’s diversity by traveling to various places around the world to learn about the wildlife located there. They feel that personal encounter will cause people to want to protect it. The team with Wild Ark wants to help protect wildlife around the globe.
The World’s Most Threatened Mammal- Vaquita Porpoises
While many people in the United States think of distant lands when they think of protecting wildlife, one of the most threatened mammal in the wild is the Vaquita porpoise living in the Gulf of California separating the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland. These stubby-nose porpoises with dark rings around their eyes live on a diet of Gulf croakers, bronze-striped grunts and squid. They can be up to five feet long weighing up to 120 pounds.
Efforts to Protect Vaquita Porpoises
Although they were not discovered until 1958, scientists believe there are less than 30 still alive in their natural habitat because of illegal fishing operations where they are snagged in gillnets set for sharks, rays, mackerels and chano. Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales with the Mexican government has authorized an emergency plan starting in May 2017 to try to capture some of these porpoises and protect them in the Upper Gulf of California Biosphere Reserve. The Mexican government has already enacted a ban on gillnet fishing within their natural territory, increased efforts by the Mexican Navy to stop illegal fishing and paid commercial anglers over $72 million in compensation.
Personal Wildlife Encounter
Wild Ark believes personal encounters with wildlife is the best way to ensure that Vaquita porpoises and other animals do not become extinct.