Monday, June 18, 2007
Celestial Pearl Danio Not Out of the Woods Yet
Celestichthys margaritatus, commonly known as the Celestial Pearl Danio or Galaxy Rasbora, was previously thought to only exist in one specific location in Myanmar east of Lake Inle. Heavy over-collection prompted concern from hobbyists and the government in Myanmar, which banned the export of the Celestial Pearl Danio in February. It was widely thought that the species was on the brink of extinction in the wild.
However, Practical Fishkeeping reported that since the government of Myanmar banned exportation of the Celestial Pearl Danio, new populations of Celestichthys margaritatus have been found in several locations.
As good as this may be, it does not remove the Celestial Pearl Danio from risk. The locations where the fish may be found are now common knowledge and if Myanmar lifts the ban on export, as it very well may do due to the new populations, over-collection will begin again. As many as 3000-5000 species may be collected per day in some locations according to the PFK article, but for how long? And that's per collector! Unfortunately, as long as there is a very strong demand for these fish from the aquarium trade and there is money to be made, Celestichthys margaritatus will continue to be over-collected and will be at risk for extinction in the wild.
Ironically, the species is relatively easy to breed in captivity. Responsible aquarium hobbyists should demand tank bred Celestial Pearl Danios in order to protect the wild populations. As more and more hobbyists breed these beautiful fish themselves, they will be increasingly available, and they can be appreciated in the aquarium while maintaining a diverse wild population.
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