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Aquarium launches desperate search to save a species down to 3 individuals

Aquarists at ZSL London Zoo have launched a worldwide appeal to find a female mate for a fish species that is believed to have gone extinct in the wild.

The fish, Mangarahara cichlid (Ptychochromis Insolitus), was once found in the Mangarahara River in Madagascar, but dams have dried up its habitat. The last two known individuals now reside at ZSL London Zoo’s Aquarium. But both are male.

The zoo is therefore asking any zoos or aquarium keepers who may have females to contact it.

Mangarahara cichlid (Ptychochromis Insolitus). (c) ZSL

“The Mangarahara cichlid is shockingly and devastatingly facing extinction; its wild habitat no longer exists and as far as we can tell, only three males remain of this entire species,” said ZSL London Zoo’s Brian Zimmerman in a statement. “It might be too late for their wild counterparts, but if we can find a female, it’s not too late for the species. Here at ZSL London Zoo we have two healthy males, as well as the facilities and expertise to make a real difference.”

“We are urgently appealing to anyone who owns or knows someone who may own these critically endangered fish, which are silver in color with an orange-tipped tail, so that we can start a breeding program here at the Zoo to bring them back from the brink of extinction.”

Many of Madagascar’s endemic cichlids have gone extinct or are endangered due to habitat loss and the introduction of invasive species like the tilapia and the Nile perch.

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