The most endangered marine mammal is the vaquita (Phocoena sinus). The vaquita is a small porpoise species found in the Gulf of California, Mexico. It is considered the most endangered marine mammal in the world, with a critically low population. As of the latest estimates, there are believed to be fewer than 10 individuals remaining in the wild.
The decline of the vaquita population is primarily attributed to accidental entanglement in fishing nets, particularly gillnets used to catch another critically endangered species, the totoaba fish. Conservation organizations and the Mexican government have implemented various measures to protect the remaining vaquitas, including fishing bans, increased enforcement, and efforts to develop alternative fishing methods.
The plight of the vaquita highlights the urgent need for conservation efforts to protect marine mammal species and their habitats. It serves as a stark reminder of the impact of human activities on vulnerable marine ecosystems.