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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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© 2014 - 2022 namu-the-orca
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CaelestisG's avatar

This is a tragedy and there's nothing anybody can do.

namu-the-orca's avatar

The real tragedy is that there is something people can do, but they don't (due to a whole range of factors). Gillnets are the one and only thing killing vaquitas - without them the species would not have crashed and would recover too.

namu-the-orca's avatar
Now that is an awesome 'belated' birthday present! :D There might be hope yet
Guadisaves02's avatar
What did the animals have done to deserve this? 

Just because we are miserable or unhappy with our lives that they have to suffer too?
namu-the-orca's avatar
Yeah, it's sad that the rest of the natural world bears the burdens of us being disregardful, not thinking, and sometimes deliberately doing harm. Luckily at least some are aware and trying to fight back
orcaumino3's avatar
praying for all the vaquitas and a hope
namu-the-orca's avatar
I'm afraid there's not much hope left to have.. their fate is just about sealed.
orcaumino3's avatar
sorry,but miracles exsists and vaquitas will win no matter what
PutterPen's avatar
I hope something can be done about this. I'm so tired of animals going extinct due to human carelessness.
namu-the-orca's avatar
To be honest I think we are past the point of no return. 10 animals.. that is nog enough to sustain or rebuild a population. But it is tiresome for sure.
It should be noted the fishery that gets acquits as bycatch targets another endangered to predator, the totoaba.
namu-the-orca's avatar
That is certainly true, and a very big problem in the Vaquita's decline. Although their major declines happened longer ago, due to shrimp fisheries. Today it's the continued illegal Totoaba fisheries that are killing the last vaquitas.
How to kill two keystone species with one stone.
Dolphingurl21stuff's avatar
i want to make vaquita OC now! poor babies, DIEING NEAR MY STATE? NOT GONNA HAPPEN!!!!!!
Ahzuriel's avatar
This is a beautiful and extremely moving piece. You are an incredible artist. Thank you for raising awareness of these poor little guys!
namu-the-orca's avatar
Thank you for your wonderful words! It's very sad indeed, but at least not sad without a cause. If only a few people have learnt about the Vaquita's plight this way, I'd be extremely content already :)
Hysazu's avatar
Stunning and heart wrenching. Your art continually inspires me! 
namu-the-orca's avatar
It's a very sad thing indeed, especially with the latest news on the species. Very glad you enjoyed the painting though :)
TheMentalJournal's avatar
Vaquita recovery fund:
Please take a moment to vote for 
Monterey Bay Diving for a grant from Chase for their Side Scan Sonar to help clean the Ocean from lost fishing gear and trash. Currently in the Monterey Bay area a fair number of whales and other marine life are getting caught/trapped in fishing gear. Cast your vote at the link below! Thank you for your support!…
namu-the-orca's avatar
Voted! Thanks for letting me know :D
Viergacht's avatar
This is one of the most beautiful paintings I've ever seen.
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