Environmental management of two of the world's most endangered marine and terrestrial predators: Vaquita and cheetah

Su Shiung Lam, Kit Wayne Chew, Pau Loke Show, Nyuk Ling Ma, Yong Sik Ok, Wanxi Peng, Aage K.O. Alstrup, Douglas H. Adams, Jörg Rinklebe, Christian Sonne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two of the world most endangered marine and terrestrial species are at the brink of extinction. The vaquita (Phocoena sinus) is the smallest existing cetacean and the population has declined to barely 22 individuals now remaining in Mexico's Gulf of California. With the ongoing decline, it is likely to go extinct within few years. The primary threat to this species has been mortality as a result of by-catch from gillnet fishing as well as environmental toxic chemicals and disturbance. This has called for the need to establish a National Park within the Gulf of California to expand essential habitat and provide the critical ecosystem protection for vaquita to thrive and multiply, given that proper conservation enforcement and management of the park are accomplished. In the terrestrial environment, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is reduced to a low number worldwide with the Iran subpopulation currently listed as Critically Endangered and the Indian subpopulation already extinct. There is a need for conservation efforts due to habitat loss, but also an indication of the conspicuous threat of illegal trade and trafficking from Africa and Arab countries in the Middle East. Funds have also been set up to provide refuges for the cheetah by working directly with farmers and landowners, which is a critical movement in adaptive management. These are the potential options for the preservation and possibly the expansion of the overall vaquita and cheetah populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109966
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Nov


  • Extinction
  • Felidae
  • Mammals
  • National park
  • Odondocete
  • Threatened

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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