Mangaluru: You often see men fishing on the banks of the many rivulets in the foothills of the Western Ghats during the monsoon. But the group that had gathered at a rivulet in the Kudremukh National Park near Naravi on Thursday was doing the opposite, releasing around 1500 fish of four endangered species into it. With several local fish species that were once found in abundance in rivers and streams in the district now on the verge of extinction thanks to construction of dams, diversion of rivers, destructive fishing practices, sand mining and above all pollution, several endangered varieties are being bred at the Dr Shivarama Karantha Pilikula Nisargadhama under the Western Ghats endangered fish breeding project.
It’s hoped the four species of fish released downstream, will travel upstream for breeding to continue the work carried out by the scientists.
"After the successful breeding of these species this is the first time that we are letting the fish into the rivulets at the foothills of the Western Ghats which are their natural habitat. About 1,500 fish were let into the rivulets in four different places," said Pilikula Nisargadhama scientific officer, Dr Sooryaprakash Shenoy. “We started the project about one- and- a -half years ago and began breeding about six months ago. It was not easy to recreate the environment needed for the fish to breed. For example if the fish needed a flood, then we had to recreate it in the aquarium. Some needed fresh oxygen, and others had to be given injections and extra feed," said consultant with the Western Ghats endangered fish breeding project, Ronald D'Souza, who is also a partner in Acquatic Biosystems, Mangaluru.
The four endangered species that were successfully bred and let into the rivers are Dawkinsia asimilis (Kaajav), Dawkinsia filamentosus (Botta Kijan), Garra mullya (kalmura) and Danio malabaricus....