Human Interest

Yangtze River Sturgeons hatch in wild for first time in 23 years

Beijing, Mar 28 (EFE).- The Yangtze River sturgeon, an extinct species in the wild that has been preserved by artificial breeding, has returned to lay eggs autonomously for the first time in 23 years, which experts consider a important step for it to reintegrate into nature.

This protected species in China went from being “critically endangered” to “extinct in the wild” last year in the classification of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, meaning it only reproduced artificially, state newspaper Global Times reported Tuesday.

The sturgeons bred in the wild in Sichuan province, where a team of researchers released 20 adults into the river in a 45-cubic-meter artificial “nest” and recorded the ovulation process for the first time and fertilization, with hatchlings seen a week later.

Researcher Du Hao, from the Yangtze River Fish Research Institute, said the experiment was based on knowledge accumulated over the past years from captive breeding programs that simulated breeding conditions in the wild.

China in 2020 banned fishing in the Yangtze, the longest river in the country and third in the world, to “protect biodiversity,” affected for many years by overfishing, pollution and dams.

Official data released when the veto came into force indicated that the Yangtze produced only 0.32 percent of China’s freshwater products, since in recent years the annual catch was less than 100,000 tons, when in the 50 were more than 420,000 tons.

The sturgeon is, along with the Yangtze dolphin – extinct in 2006 – one of the species most affected by human activities. EFE


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