This is the Cutest Mammal in the Ocean, And Chances Are You’ve Never Heard of it

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This adorable creature is so rare, few have ever photographed it, let alone seen it in the wild. Can you guess what it is?

See rare live footage in the video below!


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This dorsal fin is too curved to be a shark; the creature it belongs to is very shy, eats mostly fish and squid, and is quite harmless to humans.


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The world's smallest cetacean, it maneuvers like a dolphin — and is therefore susceptible to getting caught in gillnets, and drowning. At least 30 are found dead in gillnets each year. That's a lot for a species with only an estimated 60 individuals remaining.


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With a brain capacity ideal to facilitate navigation and communication by sonar, it typically travels in small groups of two or three, giving birth every 2 years or so.


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Stand aside, Mona Lisa! The most beautiful smile in the sea shines solely in the Gulf of California. Well, have you figured it out?


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It's the vaquita! Never heard of it? You're not alone!

This exclusive footage of a stranded vaquita calf represents one of only a handful of videos ever taken of this elusive creature.

This tiny porpoise (they're only about 5 feet long!) is the rarest and most endangered species of marine mammal in the world. They are so shy that they went undetected by science until 1958. Researchers believe there are only about 60 left.

Photo: CEDO Intercultural

Photo: CEDO Intercultural

Why? Well, these precious creatures regularly end up caught in fishing gear, especially gillnets set for shrimp. They're also caught by poachers illegally hunting totoaba, another critically endangered species that lives in the northern part of the gulf. Either way, once these air-breathing mammals are entangled and helpless, they drown.

The good news? Humans are the cause of this precious animal's endangerment — so we can be the solution!

It's up to us to save them! Without your help, the vaquita might be gone forever.

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G. H. was raised in Minnesota, but currently calls Seattle her home. She's a blogger, editor, and journalist, and she's written everything from news reports to restaurant reviews. If she's not putting pen to paper, G. H. is probably experimenting in the kitchen, chilling out on her yoga mat, or running through a city park.