The “tequila splitfin” or “zoogoneticus tequila” fish used to swam in a river in western Mexico before the year of 1990. But the fish has disappeared after 1990. Scientists have been able to return this extinct species in nature.
Science student Omar Domínguez became worried about this fish which is only seen in the Teuchitlán river. This species has disappeared from water due to pollution and human activities.
Chester Zoo is aiding Mexico
Chester Zoo in England and other European institutions have set up a laboratory for conserving Mexican fish in 1998. The European institutions brought several pairs of tequila splitfin fish to keep these in aquariums.
The fish reproduced in the aquariums and after several years the scientists thought of reintroducing them to the Teuchitlán river. But when the scientists did so, the fishes were about to die.
The scientists built an artificial pond in 2012 and they put 40 pairs of fish in it. After two years, there were more than 10,000 fish. After this experiment, the scientists got funding from organizations from Europe, U.S. and UAE to move their experiment to river.
The scientists studied parasites, microorganisms, predators and competition with other fish in the river and introduced the fish in the water in floating cages.
Scientists pleaded residents to help
Scientists pleaded residents to help, But the local residents were going to take a huge role in preserving the fish. So, the scientists tried to teach them. The scientists received success with explanation about the value of “zoogoneticus tequila” and years of patience. This fish helps to control mosquitos that spread dengue.
The residents have collected garbage and removed invasive plants from the riverside. The scientists are now sure that the ecosystem of the river has improved now. In the river, there are less non-native species.
The caged fishes are multiplying themselves rapidly. In 2017, the population has increased 55%. The reintroduction of a species into nature is a complex process. Chester Zoo has said in a statement that tequila splitfin will be another example of the small group of fishes that has been reintroduced in nature such as Przewalski’s horse and the Arabian oryx.
Chester Zoo said that this project is a part of International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) case study. The IUCN has enlisted tequila splitfin as an endangered species. The ecosystem on the Mexican rivers is threatened by pollution.