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Experts Spot Three Live Vaquitas

SAN FELIPE, BAJA CALIFORNIA MEXICO – From April 11 to 14, 2016, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's patrol vessel the M/Y Farley Mowat was honored to host Drs. Barbara Taylor and Jay Barlow, two vaquita experts from the Society for Marine Mammology. The scientists used the latest data from a network of buoys that listen for vaquita echolocation clicks to chart a course through the vaquita refuge to create the best opportunity to spot the elusive, critically endangered marine mammals.

Equipped with binoculars and an abundance of patience, the two marine biologists positioned themselves on the fly bridge of the M/Y Farley Mowat and scanned the horizon for hours each day. M/Y Farley Mowat crew members joined in these vaquita patrols. At 8:40 AM on April 12, 2016, less than three hours into the first full day of searching, Drs. Taylor and Barlow spotted a vaquita. As per their instructions, the M/Y Farley Mowatwas turned in the direction of the sighting and put into neutral. Vaquitas are usually spotted alone or in pairs, but the presence of one can mean that others are within binocular sight as well. Just a few hours later, at 11:30 AM on April 12, 2016, a second vaquita was spotted. The scientists hoped to spot a mother and calf, but it was another solitary vaquita.

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