On July 17, 2012, at 2:30 PM, YANG Jun-Xing’s research group released over 17,000 fry into the Lixianjiang River at the reservoir area of Jupudu Hydropower Station. This release of 11,000 Neolissochilus benasi fry and 6,000 fry of Semilabeo obscurus marks the success of several years of work aimed at shoring up these species.
Semilabeo obscures, which belongs to Labeoninae in Cyprinidae, was ranked as a Class II protected animal in Yunnan Province in 1989, and assessed as “rare” in the China Red Data Book of endangered animals nearly a decade later. Neolissochilus benasi is likewise also a member in Cyprinidae and is one of the most important captive objects in native Chinese fisheries. Fortunately, the situation for both species is looking optimistic. In 2009 YANG’s group was able to artificially breed Neolissochilus benasi and likewise repeated their success in 2011 with Semilabeo obscures, culminating in the release of the farmed fry in to the river.
Aside from the earlier artificial release of Sinocyclocheilus graham and Cyprinus pellegrini, the successful releasing of Semilabeo obscurus and Neolissochilus benasi is another attempt to protect the native fish species which are threatened by habitat loss brought on by water pollution or and hydroelectric projects. YANG’s goal with this release is to conserve the gene pool and promote the rejuvenation of wild populations.
This project is supported by Yunnan Datang International Lixianjiang River Hydropower Development Co., Ltd. and made possible by collaborations by a variety of experts and journalists.