FILE - In this July 8, 2017 file photo, a young woman with the World Wildlife Fund carries a papier mache replica of the critically endangered porpoise known as the vaquita marina, during an event in front of the National Palace in Mexico City calling on the Mexican government to take additional steps to protect the world's smallest marine mammal. An international team of researchers captured the first endangered vaquita porpoise in the Gulf of California in an ambitious effort to catch and enclose the few remaining members of the species, but said on Thursday, Oct. 19, that they had to release the calf because it was too young. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

Searchers in Mexico find, but release, vaquita porpoise calf

October 20, 2017 - 2:54 am

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Researchers trying to catch and enclose the last survivors of the vaquita porpoise species have captured a calf but released it because it was too young to survive without its mother.

Mexico's Environment Department said veterinarians determined the calf was too young and experts said it was showing signs of stress after capture. The experts with Mexican-led international effort known as VaquitaCPR still saw hope that they can care for the porpoises and save it from extinction.

The vaquita population has dropped to less than 30 because of illegal nets set for the totoaba fish, whose swim bladder is prized in China.

The team said several other vaquitas were sighted. The hope is to keep them in protected pens where they will reproduce and could eventually return into the wild.

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