Leonardo DiCaprio has praised the Chester Zoo for their work that helped bring an endangered fish back to its natural habitat in Mexico.
Golden Skiffa has not been seen swimming in its only known home, the Teuchitlan River in midwestern Mexico, since the 1990s.
To coincide with Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations this month, experts from Mexico’s Chester Zoo and the University of Michoacan released 1,200 golden sleds back into their native river after a breeding program conserve.
DiCaprio, 48, who has long established himself as an environmentalist, praised the project on Instagram.
The Hollywood actor has spoken at key climate summits, including the signing of the 2016 Paris climate agreement.
The team at Chester, who helped prepare the fish for the wild before they were released, were delighted with the endorsement and replied, “Thank you for sharing this incredible story!”
Golden canoes have become nearly extinct due to dam construction, water extraction, pollution and an invasive species in their rivers.
After numbers plummeted, in 2014 scientists from the University of Michoacan and aquarists from the Goodied Working Group helped restore the water and eliminate any pests that might threaten the fish living there. .
Under the breeding program, their numbers increased, and they were cared for by specialists in the UK and Latin America as the population grew.
The fish is placed in a shell before arriving in Mexico
Chester Zoo placed the fish in floating cocoons called mesocosms, where they lived for a month to help them acclimate to natural conditions before being brought to Mexico.
Before they are released, they are tagged so that they can be tracked for 5 years to see how the population grows.
Paul Bamford, program director for Latin America at Chester Zoo, said: “This project is a great example of how zoos can contribute to conservation in the field through research. conservation and breeding.
“By supporting the conservation of freshwater in Mexico and the ecosystems where fish live, we are protecting not only the biodiversity and wellbeing of freshwater environments, but also the people and communities living nearby. next to them.”
Omar Dominguez-Dominguez, a professor and researcher from Mexico’s University of Michoacan, who is leading the reintroduction of golden skiffia, said: “The release of golden skiffia at this time is a metaphor for the species’ being came back from the dead to return to the world”. its home, not for one night, but forever.
“Knowing that universities, zoos, and aquarists can come together to repair some of the things that have been destroyed and return to the wild some of the things that have been lost is amazing.”