Join Dr. Jane Goodall, Andrea Crosta and Earth League International (ELI) to save the Vaquita, the world’s most endangered marine mammal, and restore the Gulf of California

24 July 2021

The vaquita porpoise, found only in the northernmost tip of Mexico’s Gulf of California, is the world’s most endangered marine mammal. This shy whale is the victim of international trafficking criminals who profit from the illegal hunting of the totoaba, a fish used in Chinese traditional medicine.
Only about 10 vaquitas remain on Earth — and without bold, immediate action, their extinction is inevitable. 


Join Dr. Jane Goodall and Andrea Crosta, and share this message as widely as you can! You can download the video here:

Here are three things you can do to help save the vaquita — the world’s most endangered marine mammal:
  1. CONTACT Mexican and Chinese government authorities and demand an end to the illegal totoaba trade that’s accelerating the vaquita’s demise:


Presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador
Residencia oficial de Los Pinos, Molino del Rey s/n,
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, Distrito Federal. C.P. 11850

Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources – E-mail:


Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States of America
3505 International Place, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008 U.S.A.
Phone: +1-202-495-2266

  1. DONATE to Earth League International and Operation Fake Gold, at Our team of covert investigators and crime analysts may put an end to the totoaba cartels and international traffickers responsible for the decline of vaquitas and the destruction of the Gulf of California.
  2. SPREAD AWARENESS. Share this video of Dr. Jane Goodall  as she joins ELI and others who are fighting to save the vaquita.


Vaquita in the Sea of Cortez. Image from Sea of Shadows / National Geographic / Terra Mater Factual Studios / Richard Ladkani



From Baja California to China, organized crime and international trafficking syndicates — also called “totoaba cartels” — have strip-mined the Gulf of California of life. These shadowy syndicates set thousands of illegal gillnets to catch the highly endangered totoaba fish. (A gillnet is a nylon wall of netting that hangs in the water column, killing nearly everything that gets close.) 

Totoaba swim bladders seized in Hong Kong and inspected by ELI’s team

While the totoaba’s maw, or swim bladder, has no scientifically validated nutritional value, the product is popular in traditional Chinese medicine. The totaba’s maw is now more valuable than gold on the black market, up to $40-50,000 per kg. 

Unfortunately, the gillnets intended for totoaba also catch and drown vaquitas and many other marine animals including sharks, manta rays, whales and seabirds. Gillnet fishing is ruining the Gulf of California — a UNESCO World Heritage Site once considered one of the most diverse seas on Earth.

To make matters worse, on July 14 the Mexican government eliminated the fishing-free zone that’s home to the last remaining vaquitas. 

We are running out of time to save the vaquita and reverse the degradation of the Gulf of California. That’s why Earth League International launched Operation Fake Gold — the largest intelligence-gathering and investigative operation to date on the Mexican and Chinese traffickers responsible for the vaquita crisis. 

ELI’s team of covert crime fighters has worked endlessly providing actionable intelligence to American, Mexican, and Chinese officials in hopes of dismantling the syndicates profiting from the totoaba black market and accelerating the vaquita collapse. 

Anti-poaching activities and net removal operations have bought the vaquita some time — but they alone cannot combat organized crime and global trafficking cartels. To save the vaquita and restore the Gulf of California, we need sophisticated intelligence-gathering and law enforcement partners who target illegal traffickers and ultimately disrupt the totoaba supply chain.

For more information on Operation Fake Gold and Earth League International’s efforts to save the vaquita, visit With your help, the next chapter in this story can be the vaquita’s comeback