Elusive Sawfish on the Razor Edge of Extinction

sawfish river monsters photo

Photo credit: Animal Planet

Though easily identified by it's toothy nose, or rostrum, the sawfish is an elusive and poorly understood denizen of the world's tropical rivers. It's also critically endangered and under continued threat by poaching and commercial fishing bycatch.

Extreme angler, biologist, and host of Animal Planet's River Monsters, Jeremy Wade, traveled to Australia—one of the few places in the world that still has a notable population—to learn more.The characteristic toothed nose that gives the sawfish its name is also prone to tangling in nets. In addition, the fins of the fish are highly prized for soup in Asia, while the rostrum and other parts are sold as ingredients in traditional medicines.

Sawfish are popular additions to aquariums around the world, but keeping them alive—and more importantly, breeding—is a challenge. To date, only one sawfish has been born in captivity. Scientists believe this is because so little of the fish's life cycle is known and, likely, aquarium habitats neglect to provide habitat features critical for completion.

Tracking the fish in one of its few remaining natural habitats may help answer some of these questions.

River Monsters: Chainsaw Predator premieres Sunday, May 1st at 10PM E/P
Read more about River Monsters:
River Monsters: A Closer Look at Fresh Water "Killer" Fish
British Angler Catches an Elusive Giant Piranha

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