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U.S.-trained dolphins to help locate Mexico's vaquita porpoise

03/01/2017
17:37
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The world's smallest and most endangered porpoise species has been decimated by illegal fishing for the animal's swim bladder, which is a prized delicacy in China.

U.S. Navy-trained dolphins and their handlers will participate in a last-ditch effort to catch, enclose and protect the last few dozen of Mexico's critically endangered vaquita porpoises.

The Navy and international experts confirmed the dolphins' participation in the program, which is expected to start sometime this spring. The Navy said Tuesday the dolphins will use their natural sonar to locate vaquitas, then surface and advise their handlers.

The world's smallest and most endangered porpoise species has been decimated by illegal fishing for the animal's swim bladder, which is a prized delicacy in China.

Although the vaquita has never been held successfully in captivity, experts hope to put the remaining porpoises in floating pens in a safe bay in the Gulf of California where they can be protected and hopefully breed.

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