Julia Jannschke / watson.de
A fish species thought to be extinct has been rediscovered in Turkey. Researchers last scientifically documented the spotted fish in 2011, and then lost sight of it. Now Turkish scientists have discovered the rare species during a trip back down the Tigris.
A striking fish called the leopard barbel (Luciobarbus subquincunciatus) was once common in the Tigris and Euphrates river systems. It occurred in eastern Turkey, eastern Syria, Iran and Iraq. However, due to various circumstances such as fishing, pollution or habitat destruction, as well as the construction of dams, the spotted swimmer has become increasingly stressed.
Finding a fish thought to be extinct is difficult
Professor Kunit Kaya and Assistant Professor Munevvar Oral from Recep Tayyip Erdogan University made it their mission to find the almost forgotten fish. “There is nothing better than the feeling when you realize that a species pushed to the brink of extinction is still surviving against all odds,” Gaia told Ecosystem after the successful discovery.Rewild».
To facilitate the search, the research team had to adapt its strategy: nine dams on the Turkish side of the Tigris diverted water flow and released cold water downstream. This drives many freshwater fish into warmer waters, making the search more difficult.
A promising rediscovery finally came through a video call from local fisherman Mehmet Ulcu. The 50 cm long and two kg leopard caught the tiger and kept it alive. The two researchers immediately approached him.
The rediscovery helps the conservation of the species in Turkey
“We dropped everything and would have gone to the ends of the earth to see this fish, this legend, alive in the wild,” said Oral, a fisherman, after arriving in Ülkü. After taking photographs and collecting data, the two leopard bears were safely released by local fisheries control officials.
The captured fish were then released back into the wild.Build: rewild/text goksu
“To save this species in the future, we need to educate other fishermen,” emphasized fisherman Ulgu. He added: “We all have a role to play in protecting our incredible natural heritage and I am proud to be able to use my skills to contribute to the rediscovery of the leopard barbel.”
In the future, Gaya and Oral intend to sensitize their colleagues through seminars and point out the conservation of the Tigris and its biodiversity. They hope to find out more information about potential leopard barbed incidents and ensure its protection.
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