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Date TimeSeptember 26, 2019
VoiceNational Geographic’s film about the endangered vaquita – victim of Mexican gangsters’ search for ‘the cocaine of the seas’ – is a wasted opportunity
Sea of Shadows review – porpoise documentary slips through the net
The sad plight of the vaquita – an endangered species of porpoise to be found in the Sea of Cortez off the Mexican coast – is the subject of this earnest, but frankly rather precious and slightly self-admiring documentary from National Geographic, executive-produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. It is heartfelt, but its periodic attempts at thriller-style bouts of excitement are redundant, and I wondered sometimes if the film-makers were sure what exactly their story was.
There are now estimated to be only 15 vaquita left in the world, and the reason they are dying is that they are getting caught in the nets of those who are illegally trying to catch totoaba, a fish that swims in the same waters, and whose swim bladder is much prized in China, both as a delicacy and for its supposed medicinal value.

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