Today’s Solutions: May 28, 2023

Ichthyologists recently came across a surprising discovery in two streams in southeast Turkey. The team was scouring the river when it came across a Batman River loach, a critically endangered fish last spotted in 1974.

The hunt for the fish was part of the Search for Lost Fishes project from Re:wild and Shoal. The project aims to locate rare and potentially extinct fish around the world. The Batman River loach is on the group’s 10 most wanted freshwater fish list.

Hearing about the project and seeing that two of the species were endemic to Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan University associate professor Cüynet Kaya set out to try and spot the species. Kaya set out with research fellow Münevver Oral and we’re successful in spotting the small yellow and brown striped fish. Batman River loaches, named after the nearby Bati Raman mountain, only grow up to 1.4 inches, so the pair used tight-weave nets to locate not just one, but 23 fish.

Now that the fish has been located, conservationists will work on mapping out their exact habitat and identifying potential threats to the population, like pollution and invasive species.

Kaya notes that despite the fish’s small size, it still plays a critical role in Turkey’s river ecosystems. She told Treehugger, “There is no such a thing as un-important species in ecology. Ecosystems are organized in a state of balance where all species coexist with other species. Any change that happens can shift from a state of balance to a state of imbalance, which we face almost daily due to global warming.”

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