The Chattanoogan –
The search has officially begun for one of the world’s smallest sturgeon species, the Syr Darya shovelnose sturgeon, which has been lost to science since the 1960s and is one of Global Wildlife Conservation’s top 25 most wanted lost species.
Although a GWC-supported expedition team from the Tennessee Aquarium, Eurasian Regional Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and Kazakhstan Fisheries Research and Production Center was not able to rediscover the species on a December trip to Kazakhstan, what they did find has spurred hope that they’ll succeed on future trips: a surprising abundance and variety of fish species, areas of suitable habitat with thriving birdlife, and promising anecdotes from local fishermen.
“After this expedition, I’m feeling even more confident that the lost Syr Darya shovelnose sturgeon is still out there,” said Bernie Kuhajda, science program manager at the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute and expedition team lead. “The ecosystem looks pretty good and the river is immense. It’s going to take some keying in on the right habitat, the willingness of locals to help, and a little patience, but this is all part of an ongoing adventure that we hope leads to the rediscovery of a fish that I have dreamed of finding for decades.”