Pollution, unsustainable river exploitation for the production of hydroelectricity and the theft of gravel from the riverbed keep this species on the brink of extinction.
Local environmentalists in Romania have managed to record in its natural habitat an extremely rare species of fish called Romanichthys valsanicola, considered a 65-million-year -old “living fossil”, reports Romania Insider.
This species of fish, one of the rarest in Europe, is critically endangered and only inhabits an area of a few kilometers in the Valsan River, in Romania. It was discovered for the first time in 1956, when its habitat also extended to the Arges and Doamnei rivers, but they ended up becoming extinct due to the exploitation of the area’s resources.
The relevance of the images now taken by ichthyologists Andrei Togor and Marcus Drimbea is enormous, as it confirms that this species survives in this small area. In particular, they discovered about 12 specimens in a small section of the Valsan River, according to local media.
The threats to this species are numerous and are mainly related to human activity, especially pollution, the unsustainable exploitation of rivers for the production of hydroelectricity and habitat fragmentation, the theft of gravel from the river bed or the unauthorized felling of trees along the river.
In July 2019, an ecologist named Alex Gavan formed a team to save this species through reproduction and restocking. The team also developed a national action plan to save the fish, while trying to stop illegal activities in the area.
The ecologist urges the Romanian state to “respect and enforce its own laws” to protect this fish, since “a significant part of the damage caused to habitats along the Valsan river is done by state institutions and organizations,” he declared. to Romania Insider. “The greatest threat to the survival of the Romanychthys valsanicola is the current low level of water because Hidroelectrica, the company that manages the hydroelectric plant, only seeks to maximize benefits at the expense of biodiversity, violating the law in the process,” he denounces Gavan.
“This species of living fossil is a national symbol , and has the same right to live on this incredibly beautiful planet as we do. I firmly believe that this planet is full of abundance, but for this abundance to manifest, we need to make room for it, we need that each and every one of us use resources in a conscious way and take only what is necessary, “said the ecologist.
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Source: Actualidad RT