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Researchers find no trace of reproduction for rare sturgeons

Xinhua, September 15, 2014 Adjust font size:

A latest research showed Saturday that the wild Chinese sturgeons had no natural reproduction last year, leaving the rare species of fish at the risk of extinction.

"It is the first time that we found no natural reproduction of the endangered sturgeons since records began 32 years ago when a dam was built," said Wei Qiwei, a principal investigator at the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences.

Wei said researchers found no eggs laid by the wild sturgeons in a river water area downstream the Gezhou Dam in central China's Hubei Province between Oct. 31 and Dec. 28 last year.

The wild sturgeons usually swim all the way from the sea waters to the river area to lay eggs around mid and later November after they become mature.

Meanwhile, a month-long research starting Aug. 10 last year found no young sturgeons swimming all the way along the Yangtze River to the sea waters.

Young sturgeons usually swim downstream to the sea in August.

The number of the wild Chinese sturgeons has sharply declined to around 100 from thousands in the 1980s, mainly due to human activities and water pollution, Wei said.

"No natural reproduction means that the sturgeons would not expand its population and without protection, they might risk in extinction," Wei said.

Believed to have lived at the same time as dinosaurs, the Chinese sturgeon, or acipenser sinensis, has existed for more than 140 million years. The fish, nicknamed aquatic pandas, is listed as a wild creature under the national top protection.

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