Leonardo DiCaprio praises Chester Zoo for returning 1,200 ‘extinct’ fish to wild



eonardo DiCaprio has praised the work of Chester Zoo and its conservation companions for bringing a uncommon fish species “again from the useless”.

Conservationists from the zoo labored alongside a workforce of world specialists from the UK, North and Latin America to launch 1,200 golden skiffia fish again into the Teuchitlan River in Mexico for the primary time in 30 years on Wednesday.

The Cheshire zoo thanked the Hollywood actor after he took to social media to share the information of the profitable reintroduction together with his together with his 55.6 million Instagram followers.

The golden skiffia had been pushed to extinction within the wild on account of human disturbance attributable to dam development, water extraction, air pollution and the introduction of invasive species.

DiCaprio’s publish, which has racked up greater than 282,000 likes, confirmed {a photograph} of a golden skiffia surrounded by brightly colored flowers and vibrant calaveras – the Mexican phrase for skulls – in reference to the Day of the Useless, which coincided with the discharge of the fish.

The Day of the Useless is a standard Mexican celebration, when it’s believed that individuals’s deceased ancestors return to the land of the residing for one night time to speak and spend time with their households.

Omar Dominguez-Dominguez, a professor and researcher from the Michoacan College of Mexico, led the golden skiffia reintroduction and mentioned returning the fish on the outstanding day was an “superb factor”.

Mr Dominguez-Dominguez mentioned: “Releasing the golden skiffia right now is a metaphor for a way the species has come again from the useless to return to its dwelling, not for one night time, however perpetually.

“Releasing this species again into the wild is a light-weight of hope for this glorious household of fishes – the goodeids – and for the conservation of freshwater fish extra usually.

“Understanding that universities, zoos and aquarists can come collectively to repair a few of what has been destroyed and return to nature a few of what has been misplaced is an incredible factor.”

In preparation for the species’ return to the wild, the fish have been first positioned in ponds to adapt to completely different circumstances after which taken to floating pods, generally known as mesocosms, within the river the place they lived for a minimum of a month to additional adapt to pure circumstances earlier than launch.

Fish launched into the wild have been tagged and will likely be monitored for the subsequent 5 years to evaluate whether or not the inhabitants is rising and whether or not the fish are reproducing and rising efficiently within the river.

Paul Bamford, regional programme supervisor for Latin America at Chester Zoo, mentioned: “This venture is a good instance of how zoos can contribute to conservation within the area by means of conservation breeding and analysis, utilising the talents and expertise which have been developed in zoos to assist strengthen present and new wild populations.

“By supporting freshwater conservation in Mexico and the ecosystems the place the fish dwell, we’re not solely defending biodiversity and the wellbeing of freshwater environments, but in addition the folks and communities that dwell alongside them.”

The venture is a part of Fish Ark Mexico, a conservation venture in central Mexico that focuses on 41 extremely threatened species of freshwater fish.

In 2014, scientists from the Michoacan College of Mexico and fishkeepers from the Goodeid Working Group helped restore the degraded habitat and take away non-native species from the Teuchitlan ecosystem.

The golden skiffia launch comes just some years after the profitable reintroduction of the tequila splitfin, which confronted very comparable threats to the golden skiffia and was additionally prevented from extinction on account of a conservation motion by specialists from Chester Zoo.

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