Aquarium to create awareness on fish species in Gudalur

‘Aaral’, the aquarium set up at Gene Pool in Nadugani, Gudalur.  

An aquarium to create awareness about endemic fish species that populate the streams that flow through Gudalur and Pandalur has been set up at the Gene Pool in Nadugani.

As part of the first step towards ensuring the conservation of the freshwater fish species in the region, 20 species of endemic freshwater fish, including the critically endangered Neolissochilus wynaadensis (Wayanad Mahseer), Devario neilgherriensis (Nilgiri danio) as well as other threatened and vulnerable species such as the Anguilla bengalensis (Indian motted eel), Mastacembelus armatus (the zig-zag eel), and the endemic Balitora mysorensis (slender stone loach), Haludaria fasciata (Melon barb and) Dawkinsia rubrotinctus are to be displayed in the aquarium, which has been named “Aaral.” K. Mahesh Kumar, biologist at the Anaimalai Tiger Reserve (Tirupur Division), told The Hindu a study of the Pandiar and Punnampuzha Rivers, and the streams that flow through Gudalur, revealed the presence of 42 freshwater fish species.

“The presence of freshwater fish is a key indicator of the quality of the river,” said Mr. Mahesh Kumar, who added that the aquarium would help people understand the diversity of the freshwater habitats in Gudalur and Pandalur. “The Western Ghats are home to 320 species of freshwater fish in which 43 species are critically endangered, 90 are endangered and 81 species have been classified as being vulnerable (as per IUCN criteria),” said a statement from the Gudalur forest division.

The Forest Department stated that 226 species of freshwater fish were found in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The aquarium had been set up with the fish housed in 15 large tanks and two paludariums (an aquatic tank with terrestrial and aquatic plants as well as fish).

“This is a unique and a pioneering attempt in the Nilgiris made possible under the directions of I. Anwardeen, APCCF, Coimbatore Circle, and under the guidance of Kommu Omkaram, District Forest Officer, Gudalur Division, with an objective to preserve freshwater fishes and give awareness particularly of the endemic, rare, vulnerable and endangered species,” a release said.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 11:21:49 PM |

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