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Effort to capture world's most endangered dolphin begins

Two endangered vaquita swim in the gulf of Mexico. Photo: Paula Olson, NOAA Contractor; taken under permit: Oficio No. DR/488/08

On Wednesday, four U.S. Navy-trained bottlenose dolphins will sweep through the Gulf of Mexico with one purpose: to find and capture a tiny porpoise called the vaquita, which is the most endangered marine mammal alive. The ultimate goal is to capture the roughly 30 remaining vaquita, and keep them safe until they can be re-released.

Why it matters: This is a last-ditch effort to save the iconic species and one that isn't undertaken lightly because some species of porpoise die when they're captured. But Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho, who coordinates Mexico's marine mammal research and conservation program, tells Axios it's unlikely the vaquita will survive another illegal fishing season without help.