MEXICO CITY (AP) — U.S. Navy-trained dolphins and their handlers will participate in a last-ditch effort to catch, enclose and protect the last few dozen of Mexico’s critically endangered vaquita porpoises to save them from extinction.

International experts confirmed the participation of the Navy Marine Mammal Program in the effort, which is expected to start sometime this spring.

Jim Fallin of the U.S. Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific said Tuesday that the dolphins’ participation is still in the planning stage.

The dolphins will use their natural sonar to locate the extremely elusive vaquitas, then surface and advise their handlers.

“Their specific task is to locate” vaquitas, which live only in the Gulf of California, Fallin said. “They would signal that by surfacing and returning to the boat from which they were launched.”

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Image courtesy of US Navy

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