Restocking the Polluted Yangtze: Fishy?

The panda might be more charismatic - heck, even its poo is popular - but surely the Chinese sturgeon also deserves its place in the sun. Or, rather, in the dank, irreversibly polluted water of the Yangtze. Last week this massive river, source of 35% of China's total freshwater resources, was said by state media to be "seriously" and "large[ly] irreversibly" polluted. This week, 400,000 rare fish were released into the river in an attempt to save its fish stocks from extinction - and to follow up on Earth Day. Included in the masses of fish were about 110,000 Chinese sturgeon. "Weird" animals need protection, too, and the sturgeon is surely deserving. One of the oldest vertebrate species in the world, it's been around for more than 200 million years. Pre-release, the precise number found in the Yangtze was unknown, but placed at about 500. Now there should be about 110,500 - hopefully not all choking for breath, and hopefully not going the way of the adorable and functionally extinct Yangtze river dolphin. We can take comfort from the words of a researcher at the Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute surgeon breeding center: "[The sturgeon] have been raised in a water quality similar to that of the river, and should adapt soon." (Lucky them!) Some of the fish have been implanted with devices for monitoring, and those that fail to adjust to potentially noxious freedom may well be brought back to the institute for "recuperation." ::Xinhua News Agency (April 15 and April 23)

Tags: Animals | China

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