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

Leonardo DiCaprio has praised the work of Chester Zoo and its conservation partners in bringing a rare species of fish “back from the dead”.

Conservationists from the zoo worked alongside a global team of experts from the UK, North and Latin America to release 1,200 golden skiffias back into the Teuchitlan River in Mexico for the first time in 30 years on Wednesday.

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Leonardo DiCaprio praised the work of Chester Zoo and its conservation partners (Matt Crossick/PA)

The Cheshire Zoo thanked the Hollywood actor after he took to social media to share news of the successful remake with his 55.6 million Instagram followers.

Golden skiffia has been pushed to extinction in the wild due to human disturbance caused by dam construction, water extraction, pollution and the introduction of invasive species.

DiCaprio’s post, which has received more than 282,000 likes, shows a photograph of a gold skiffia surrounded by vibrant flowers and colorful calaveras – the Mexican word for skulls – linking related to Day of the Dead, which coincides with the film’s release. fish.

Day of the Dead is a traditional Mexican celebration, when it is believed that people’s deceased ancestors return to the land of the living for one night to talk and spend time with their families.

Omar Dominguez-Dominguez, a professor and researcher from Mexico’s University of Michoacan, led the reintroduction of golden skiffia and said the return of the fish on the outstanding day was a “wonderful thing”.

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Golden skiffia has been pushed to extinction in the wild. (Chester Zoo/PA)

Dominguez-Dominguez said: “The release of golden skiffia at this time is a metaphor for this species having returned from the dead to return to its nest, not overnight but forever.

“The release of this species back into the wild is a glimmer of hope for this amazing family of fish – the goodeids – and for the conservation of freshwater fish in general.

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“Knowing that universities, zoos, and aquarists can come together to repair some of the things that have been destroyed and give back to nature some of what was lost is amazing.”

To prepare for the species’ return to the wild, fish are first released into ponds to acclimate to different conditions and then moved to floating shells, known as mesocosms, in the river where they live at least. one month to continue to adapt to nature. conditions prior to release.

The fish released into the wild have been tagged and will be monitored over the next 5 years to assess whether fish numbers are increasing and whether the fish are successfully spawning and growing in the river.

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Conservationists return golden skiffias to the Mexican River after a 30-year absence (Manfred Meiners/Chester Zoo/PA)

Paul Bamford, program director for Latin America at Chester Zoo, said: “This project is a great example of how zoos can contribute to field conservation through research. conservation breeding and research, using skills and experience developed in zoos to help strengthen existing and new wild populations.

“By supporting the conservation of freshwater in Mexico and the ecosystems where fish live, we are protecting not only the biodiversity and well-being of freshwater environments, but also the people and communities living nearby. next to them.”

The project is part of Fish Ark Mexico, a conservation project in central Mexico that focuses on 41 critically endangered freshwater fish species.

In 2014, scientists from Mexico’s University of Michoacan and aquarists from the Goodeid Working Group helped restore degraded habitat and remove non-native species from the Teuchitlan ecosystem.

The release of the golden skiffia comes just a few years after the successful reintroduction of the tequila, which faces very similar threats to the golden skiffia and has also been prevented from extinction through action. Conservation experts from Chester Zoo.

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/leonardo-dicaprio-praises-chester-zoo-for-returning-1200-extinct-fish-to-wild-42174078.html Leonardo DiCaprio praises Chester Zoo for returning 1,200 ‘extinct’ fish to the wild

Fry Electronics Team

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