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UA lectures to focus on endangered vaquita porpoises

This spring, the University of Arizona Science Tumamoc Hill public lecture series will focus on the world's smallest porpoise, the vaquita (Phocoena sinus), which has been pushed to the brink of extinction by illegal gill net fishing practices. The vaquita is native to the northern Gulf of California in Mexico, and only 60 animals of the critically endangered species are estimated to be alive today, although data on the elusive marine mammal is sparse.

During the lecture series, "La Vaquita Marina , the World's Most Endangered Marine Mammal: Where Do We Go from Here?", experts from the U.S. and Mexico will share insights into the biology, ecology and socio-economic connections surrounding the vaquita.

The free lectures will begin at 6 p.m., and are open to the public. Seating is limited, and reservations are required to ensure sufficient shuttle service to the Desert Laboratory buildings, which are located roughly halfway up the hill on Tucson's West Side. Contact Cynthia Anson at desertlaboratory@gmail.com or 520-629-9455 to reserve a seat.


  • Jan. 16: Vanishing Vaquitas: Lessons from a Humble Porpoise
    Speaker: Barbara Taylor, U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Feb. 20: Stories from the Field
    Speakers: Brooke Bessesen, author, and Pablo Curiel, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
  • March 20: Managing Two Species on the Brink of Extinction
    Speakers: Ana Luisa Figueroa, CONANP (National Commission for Natural Protected Areas, Mexico), and Marcela Vasquez-Leon, UA Center for Latin American Studies
  • April 17: Local Livelihoods
    Speakers: Lorenzo Bracho Rojas, CIRVA (International Committee for Vaquita Recovery), and Victor Ricárdez, social anthropologist, Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO), Puerto Penasco, Mexico
  • May 15: Lessons to be Learned and Market-Driven Solutions
    Speakers: Sarah Mesnik, NOAA/Southwest Fisheries Center, and Peggy Turk Boyer, CEDO
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UA's Tumamoc lecture series on endangered vaquitas

  • What: A series of monthly public talks about the vaquita porpoise
  • When: 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, Jan. 16, Feb. 20, March 20, April 17, May 15
  • Where: Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill