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The Society for Conservation Biology recently named Monica Michelle and Guillermo Munro Colosio (Memuco) as ambassadors for the protection of the marine vaquita.
A background in environmental activism and awareness campaigns about the region’s ecosystem, along with the promotion of art as a means to preserve the endangered species, earned both Michelle and Memuco the appointment by the Society for Conservation Biology as ambassadors of the vaquita. The marine vaquita is an endemic species to the Gulf of California and is at high risk of extinction as it is believed there are fewer than 100 vaquita today.
This association, which carries out activities aimed at protecting endangered species, had earlier launched a call for individuals interested in supporting their efforts who lived near the vaquita’s habitat.
After analysis, it was determined that Monica Michelle, originally of San Luis Rio Colorado and presently a binational environmental activist, would represent the struggle to protect the marine vaquita along with Memuco of Puerto Peñasco. In addition to promoting the protection of this species throughout the world, Memuco has transformed his work into art through expressions in paintings, murals, and informative briefs, among other media.
After learning the news, Monica Michelle expressed her commitment to the appointment as a vaquita ambassador, a role which she will fulfill responsibly. Monica is a bicultural/binational community based activist. An important factor stems from her studies in business administration, marketing, and more than 15 years working in the area of non-profit community development. She has lived in the Sonoran desert between the U.S. and Mexico and speaks fluent Spanish, English, and Italian. Fundamentally, she believes empowering communities can be a catalyst for true sustainable community and economic development.
For his part, Guillermo Munro Colosio (Memuco) remarked, “Well, it’s an honor to be named an ambassador for the vaquita. It pleases me tremendously that they’ve taken us into account. I don’t think it’s anything to celebrate, rather to the contrary to do more, to raise awareness so that everyone both here and around the world know what is happening.”
He continued, “Monica Michelle and myself will be doing various activities such as radio, videos, animation, and informational pamphlets; everything surrounding this incredibly beautiful and timid species.”
For the artist, this appointment forces them to work on promoting and educating both students and adults as to the situation of the vaquita, because it is in such grave risk of extinction. “And that’s where the issue of unlawful fishing for totoaba also comes in. Given the marine vaquita is originally from the area that saw me grow up, I feel very committed to her and its preservation or, in this case, rescue.”
It is worth noting in addition to being named a Vaquita Ambassador by the Society for Conservation Biology Memuco was also recognized in October by the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California and Save the Whales as an “Environmental Hero” (Héroe del Medio Ambiente), being the first to receive this award.