The Zoogoneticus Tequila is a small fish that lived in Mexico. In 1998 was declared extinct, finding a small population of 50 specimens again in 2009. This population also became extinct, although researchers from the Michoacan University of San Nicolás de Hidalgo, in Mexico, proposed reintroduce this species to its natural habitat, as we read in Phys.
Returning an extinct animal to its natural habitat is not something new, but it is quite complicated. In the case of this reintroduction plan, the results have been successful, achieving an exponential growth of this fish in a period of two years that has ended up stabilizing today.
Giving back to nature what was his
The objective of the ‘Fish Ark’ project of these researchers was to return to its natural habitat the Zoogoneticus Tequila, a small fish with a maximum length of 8 centimeters that only lives in the Teuchitlán River. The species became extinct in its natural habitat, only managing to survive in small populations reserved in captivity. It points to river pollution, human activity and the introduction of non-native species in this habitat as the main causes of their extinction.
The researchers began to establish a population from captive sources. A pond was created simulating the natural conditions in which the species was to be reintroduced, studying the ideal conditions to return the fish to nature.
The idea was to replicate the natural habitat of these fish and achieve their reproduction in an aquarium with these conditions, to later transfer the experiment to the river
They located 40 pairs in the aquarium and, two years later, they had more than 10,000 copies. These figures were not transferable to a real reintroduction, but they did open the door to funding from European, American and United Arab Emirates organizations to transfer the experiment to the river.
After the studies, returned 160 fish in small cages within their natural habitat, in order to see if they were able to survive. After successful reintroduction, the population grew to just over 800 fish in 2019.
According to the researchers, the Zoogoneticus Tequila has great value in helping to control the Dengue-transmitting mosquito population, clean the river particles and eliminate invasive plants. To avoid a new extinction, clean-up work was carried out in the river and local livestock were prohibited from drinking in some key areas of the river.
Image 1 | Chester Zoo
Image 2 | Cedricguppy – Loury Cédric