Leo Dicaprio Prioritizes Porpoises In Meeting With Mexican President

Posted June 10, 2017

On Wednesday, the Oscar victor announced that his foundation has teamed up with billionaire Carlos Slim's foundation and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to sign an agreement that will protect marine ecosystems in the upper Gulf of California.

Responding to the signing of the agreement, WWF issued a statement Thursday, in which it said: "While the vaquita is still at great risk, today's agreement is a key step toward ensuring a prosperous future the vaquita as well as the people and wildlife of Mexico's Upper Gulf of California".

'Mexico's government is making a major effort, doing what should have been done decades ago to save the Vaquita Marina, ' he said in one of the tweets.

The program is supported by the establishment of Di Caprio and that of the Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim.

Leonardo DiCaprio has struck a deal with Mexico's president to step up efforts to save the endangered Vaquita porpoise.

It's reported that the rapid decline of the snub-nose vaquita is largely due to gillnet fishing for shrimp and totoaba - leaving less than 30 vaquita in the wild, as opposed to 600 vaquita populating the area some two decades ago.

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Handout image released by the Mexican Presidency's press office showing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (L) and United States actor Leonardo Di Caprio (R) during a meeting about the danger of extinction of the vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus) in Mexico City on June 7, 2017.

Back in early May, DiCaprio posted about the vaquita porpoise, the world's smallest porpoise and most endangered marine mammal.

"Mexico understands its responsibility as one of the countries with greatest biodiversity", President Peña Nieto added. Vaquita (the word means "little cow" in Spanish) porpoise get caught in gillnets laid out for totoaba as bycatch.

The threat is fueled by demand for totoaba swim bladders in China, where they are considered a delicacy and can fetch $20,000 per kilogram. The illegal nets can ensnare and kill the vaquitas. "That is why we have implemented an historic effort to avoid the extinction of a unique species in the world and also to protect important ecosystems". It also calls for prohibition of night-time fishing in the region and the establishment of monitored entry and exit points for fishing vessels.

In recent months, scientists, conservationists and the Mexican government have waged a desperate battle to save the vaquita, including an increase in patrols and the outsourcing of some policing efforts to the activist group Sea Shepherd.