Another dolphin nears extinction.

That’s the not-terribly cheerful news from Nature on the vaquita (Phocoena sinus), a porpoise from Mexico’s Pacific coast:

In 1999, researchers estimated there were 567 vaquitas left in the northern Gulf of California. Mexican biologist Armando Jaramillo-Legorreta, lead author of the new report, says that the rising number of fishing boats is killing the porpoises at a rate of at least 40 a year. A population of about 100 must be saved for sufficient genetic diversity, the team says.

Previous attempts to create no-fishing zones and buy out fishermen in the vaquita’s habitat have failed. But now the environmental groups WWF, Nature Conservancy and Conservation International have joined forces in a $10 million pledge.

That’s the good news. The bad news:

Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, has joined the push to save the animal. But fishing industry advocates sometimes speak openly of wiping it out.

You can read more about the world’s most endangered dolphin (now that the baiji is officially no more) on and Wikipedia.