10,000 captive-bred rare Chinese sturgeons released

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-04-14 16:59
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A Chinese sturgeon is released into Yangtze River in Yichang, Central China's Hubei province on April 10, 2021. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

About 10,000 second filial generation Chinese sturgeons were released into the Yangtze River in Yichang, Central China's Hubei province on Saturday to increase wild stocks of the rare species.

The Chinese Sturgeon Research Institute of the China Three Gorges Corporation established a monitoring system along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River and adopted technologies, including ultrasonic supervision and wireless transmission, to track the sturgeons.

In 2010, the institute released five second filial generation Chinese sturgeons into the wild for the first time, indicating researchers would not have to catch wild ones for breeding.

The sturgeons sent back to the wild this time include 16 large, carefully selected fish marked with satellite tags, which were installed between March 22 and 24, in a bid to gather information about their migration and reproduction activities.

A Chinese sturgeon is released into Yangtze River in Yichang, Central China's Hubei province on Saturday. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The institute, also known as the Conservation Center for Rare Fish in the Yangtze River, said the data and information garnered from their satellite tags will be used to study their marine inhabitation history.

The 16 sturgeons with satellite tags each have a length of over 1.5 meters, a weight of over 50 kilograms, and an age of over 10 years.

Since 1984, the institute has released 64 batches of Chinese sturgeons bred in captivity. The institute has released about 5.04 million Chinese sturgeons into the river, including more than 40,000 second filial generation fish.

Believed to have lived at the same time as dinosaurs, the Chinese sturgeon, or Acipenser sinensis, has existed for more than 140 million years.

Known as the "aquatic panda", the Chinese sturgeon is one of the first-class protected animals in China, as well as a "living fossil". As the flagship species of the Yangtze River, its survival reflects to a certain extent the conditions of the water eco-environment.

It was in 2019 that the institute announced a reproductive breakthrough that the artificial propagation of the Chinese sturgeon would no longer count on wild fish as they had achieved artificial insemination and spawning of cultured sturgeons.

Saturday marks the 300-day countdown to the start of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, of which the China Three Gorges Corporation has become the official power generation partner.

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