On 2 November 2017, Collin College hosted “Net Loss: The Vanishing Vaquita Porpoise” at the Spring Creek Campus Living Legends Conference Center in Plano, Texas. This free event was dedicated to raising awareness of the most endangered marine mammal species in the world, the vaquita. We brought the plight of this tiny porpoise from Mexico to Plano.
Over 150 students, faculty members, and members of the general public attended the event in person, while many others attended remotely via the webinar. During this forum, participants learned about the plight of the vaquita and ways that they can contribute to the current emergency conservation efforts to save this species.
Amy Whitt, Senior Marine Scientist of Azura Consulting and Collin College Professor of Environmental Science, presented general information about the vaquita, the main threats to the species, and an overview of the emergency conservation efforts the Consortium for Vaquita Conservation, Protection, and Recovery (VaquitaCPR) is leading right now in the vaquita’s home range in the Gulf of California, Mexico. We also received an update about these unprecedented international efforts directly from Steve Walker, the global media point of contact for VaquitaCPR. In addition, Jennifer O’Loughlin-Brooks, Collin College Professor of Psychology, discussed how conservation psychology can encourage safeguarding of wildlife and the natural world. These discussions were followed by a screening of Souls of the Vermilion Sea. Created by Wild Lens, this 30-minute documentary film describes the struggles of biologists and fishermen to prevent the extinction of the world’s most endangered marine mammal, the vaquita.
“Net Loss” was co-sponsored by multiple Collin College organizations, including Psi Beta, Collin Association for Sustainable Efforts, LULAC, and the Honors Institute. Collin College students created special art pieces for the event, and all proceeds of the silent art auction are being donated to vaquita recovery efforts. Special thanks to Professor O’Loughlin-Brooks and Professor Chalhoub for their planning and organizing efforts which made this event a success.
Updates on the VaquitaCPR efforts to save the vaquita from extinction can be found here.
Whitt’s presentation on the overview of the plight of the vaquita is provided here.