MEXICO CITY, March 20 (Xinhua) -- The body of a vaquita porpoise, one of the most endangered species in the world with around 60 left, was found in the Gulf of California in northwestern Mexico, seemingly after being trapped in illegal fishing nets.
Mexico's environmental protection group, Profepa, announced Monday that a dead female, measuring 145cm, had been found with multiple lacerations, including wounds inflicted by a bladed object.
Profepa found the porpoise on Sunday 26km north of the village in San Felipa, after being alerted by the crew of a vessel belonging to the marine conversation group, Sea Shepherd.
The porpoise's body was found in the Upper Gulf of California biosphere reserve, the only habitat of the marine mammal which has been on the endangered species list for 26 years.
The Mexican government has increased surveillance in the area since 2015, with patrols by Navy vessels and fly-overs by drones to prevent the illegal fishing of the totoaba fish, which is sought after and lives in the same area as the vaquita porpoise.
Profepa explained the animal's wounds by stating was likely caught in an illegal fishing net before being wounded by the blades of a boat engine.
This is the second vaquita found dead in the area, after the body of a young porpoise was found on March 12.
The Ministry of the Environment has stated that only around 60 vaquita porpoises remain, although a recent headcount by the CIRVA preservation society said the population had fallen to around 30 in 2016.
In its statement, Profepa vowed to keep up a "frontal assault" against smugglers of the totoaba, which is also endangered, and would turn over any fisherman caught in the act to federal authorities.