After years of collaborative conservation work between Michoacan University of Mexico, Goodeid Working Group, Re:wild, Chester Zoo, Synchronicity Earth and SHOAL, the golden skiffia (Skiffia francesae) fish is finally being introduced back into the wild. The golden skiffia fish has not been seen in the wild for more than two dozen years, since the 1990's, due to dramatic changes in the species natural habitat.
Preparation for the return of the species began in 2014. Scientists removed the threats that caused the species to become extinct and rebuilt the necessary foundations for their survival. Any golden skiffia fish who are ready for release are being slowly introduced back into their natural conditions, being placed in ponds in semi-captive conditions before moving onto the real thing.
So far, the team has released 1,200 golden skiffia back into the wild in the Teuchitlán River in Mexico. The fish will be monitored over the proceeding five years, allowing the scientists to assess levels of success, and observe population numbers. This will help them to determine whether the fish are thriving in their natural habitat, based on if their population increases or decreases.
While they have yet to closely monitor the results, the team of enthusiastic conservationists hope that the population of golden skiffia will continue to play their natural role of eating algae and mosquito larvae within the ecosystem. In turn, this helps to keep species populations in check and hopefully, the population should thrive.
"With thousands of freshwater species threatened with extinction, the story of the golden skiffia returning to the wild is inspiring evidence of the many opportunities for conservation impact that together can reverse the freshwater biodiversity crisis,” said Harmony Patricio, Re:wild’s freshwater fish conservation program manager. and conservation program manager for SHOAL.
Re:wild has also helped to rediscover several other species of animal, including the batman river loach and some rare crabs.