World-famous superstar Leonardo DiCaprio recently hailed the conservation efforts of Chester Zoo. The actor, known for his roles in films such as ‘Catch Me If You Can’ and ‘Titanic’, took to social media to report on a collaborative effort to bring a rare species of fish back from the brink of extinction.
Zoo experts at Chester worked alongside conservation partners to resurrect a fish known as the golden skiffia from extinction at the Day of the Dead Celebrations 2022, held recently in Mexico. During the major event, the conservation team released over 1,000 fish into the Teuchitlan River, a location where the species had not been witnessed since back in the 90s.
Regional Programme Manager of Latin America for Chester Zoo, Paul Bamford commented:
“This project is a great example of how zoos can contribute to conservation in the field through conservation breeding and research, utilising the skills and experience that have been developed in zoos to help strengthen existing and new wild populations.”
He added that by providing support for freshwater conservation within Mexico as well as the ecosystems where fish dwell, conservationists are protecting biodiversity and the health of freshwater environments, as well the communities and people that live nearby them.
To prepare for their return to the wild, the golden skiffia were placed in ponds first, giving them time to adapt. They were then taken to designated floating river pods known as mesocosms. After a month in the pods, the fish will be ready to be released into the wild.