The Drug War Kills Porpoises

Mexico’s drug cartels—the poisonous fruit of a toxic drug war tree—are overfishing the Sea of Cortez and exterminating the vaquita porpoise, the world’s rarest marine mammal:

Austrian filmmaker Richard Ladkani recorded the shocking and dangerous story of the activists, scientists and journalists risking their lives to save the rare whale in his documentary “Sea of Shadows.”

“The film ‘Sea of Shadows’ for me was one of the most important films that I’ve ever made, … Because here you have an example of criminal syndicates attacking planet Earth. And the clock’s really ticking, because if they continue to do what they do—if they continue their fight against this ocean, for money and greed—they’re actually going to destroy one of the most beautiful places on Earth.”

“Nobody has ever heard about this war even happening,” the filmmaker goes on. “It’s happening in the shadows, but only a five hours’ drive south of Los Angeles. And here you have a species go extinct—the smallest whale on earth, a beautiful creature right out of a Disney movie, the vaquita.” […]

Drug cartels became involved in the … fishing trade partly because … it’s much easier money than selling narcotics. Their … overfishing of the Sea of Cortez … makes it even more difficult for efforts to save the vaquita to take place because of the deadly threat that getting involved poses to activists, journalists and scientists, as well as to the very fishermen entangled in the trade. […]

Cartels that aid the Sixth Great Extinction also make it difficult for researchers working in Mexico’s interior. Environmental protection in Mexico often doesn’t get funded or implemented as meager financial resources get used up fighting an ineffectual and never-ending drug war.

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