Science | May 16, 2017 10:51 am

Leonardo DiCaprio Pleads for Action to Save Porpoise from Imminent Extinction

The actor's tweet prompted a response from the Mexican government.

Leonardo DiCaprio prepares to announce the launch of the Global Fishing Watch.
Actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio prepares to announce the launch of the Global Fishing Watch during the Our Oceans conference at the State Department's Harry S. Truman building September 15, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla / Staff)

Academy Award-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio called on his massive Twitter following this week to help bring attention to and help conserve the most endangered marine mammal in the world.

The star’s plea prompted a response from the Mexican president and forcing the mammal to trend on the social platform.

“With fewer than 30 vaquita left, the time to act is now. #SavetheVaquita,” DiCaprio tweeted. 

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto didn’t address DiCaprio directly, but responded to the issue, writing: “Mexico’s government is making a major effort, doing what should have been done decades ago to save the Laquita Marina.”

The dark-eyed vaquita porpoise is estimated to go completely extinct by the middle of 2018, the BBC reports, their population having plummeted by 90 percent in the last six years. 

Many of the porpoises are often accidentally killed in gillnets, according to the BBC, which were banned for two years in 2015. Conservationists and researchers reportedly hope the Mexican government will extend and strengthen the existing ban in light of the species’ state of critical endangerment. 

The rare mammal lives exclusively in the Gulf of California, a world heritage site situated between the Mexican mainland and the Baja peninsula. The waters are home to both a massive area of biodiversity and half of Mexico’s total fisheries production.