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namu-the-orca's avatar

Despedida Vaquita ( 'Goodbye Vaquita' )




The Vaquita, or Desert porpoise, is not only one of the smallest of all cetaceans but also the most endangered of all marine mammals. Only an estimated 150 remain in the northernmost tip of the Gulf of California, and dozens die each year in the gillnets of local shrimp fishermen. Vaquitas are gorgeous little porpoises, handsomely marked with big black spots around the eye, varying shades of grey on their flanks and black-lined lips that give them a haunting smile, even in death. With the Baiji lost to us only so recently, it would be horribly sad to lose another cetacean species to human activity. And we will lose the Vaquita, soon, if nothing is done about the situation. Several groups are working hard to find a solution that will not only help the Vaquita, but will also allow the fishermen to keep making a living. You can go to for more info on the Vaquita, what's being done and how you can help, or watch this beautiful video:…

As a member of the Muskwa club, a student-based organisation whose aim is to prevent the Vaquita from going extinct, I had promised a painting like this for quite a while. The early beginnings were already made in April, although the painting looked very different back then; it showed a couple of Vaquita, dead on a stainless steel table - the whole inspired by this very sad photo:… However, I got stuck trying to make an actual, finished painting out of my quick primary sketch, and it was then that I threw the whole idea out the window. In a flash of inspiration out came the sunset, the beach and the unfortunate Vaquita, and it's the idea I stuck with. So now, almost three months later, it is finally finished. Some parts were fun to do, some hard and some plain boring, but I am overall very pleased with the end result.

I hope you enjoy it as well and maybe have learned, or will learn more about this exquisite porpoise's plight. If we work together, we hopefully never will have to say 'Despedida Vaquita' and can cheer 'Viva Vaquita!' instead :)
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Sara0Hikari's avatar

This is such a beautiful piece of artwork! I love your artstyle, it is gorgeous and so true and real. I love how it isn't showing a false version of the world, but what is really happening. I appreciate you for spreading awareness on this tragicly endangered species. Yet I wonder why the government hasn't done anything. All we have to do is ban gillnets. It is that simple. Why is nobody doing anything?