Sunday, July 26, 2009

Barred danio (Devario pathirana)

These colourful fish with dark-blue stripes can be found in Sri Lanka’s freshwater pebbly streams and ponds, in lowland tropical rainforest. They live in groups of 3-5, swim slowly near the surface and eat insects and larvae.

Like many of Sri Lanka’s ornamental fish, they are at risk from pollution (chemicals washed into water) and illegal collection for sale to aquarium owners. They are Critically Endangered which means they have a high risk of becoming extinct in the wild in the near future. But if left alone they can double their numbers in only 15 months – which means if we look after the remaining few fish carefully – it won’t take too long before they are off the endangered list.

What can you do to help?

1. Don’t catch ornamental fish from the wild
It’s illegal, and taking fish from their natural home, especially when there are not many left, stops them from breeding and increasing their numbers. If you see someone catching fish illegally, tell a responsible adult and you can inform the police together.

2. Don’t release aquarium fish into the wild.
They could be sick and spread disease – infecting other, healthy fish.

3. Check before you buy
It is illegal to buy and sell many of Sri Lanka’s ornamental fish because they are threatened. If you are going to buy fish, check first to make sure they are not a protected species.

4. Keep streams clean
It’s important to not pollute rivers with rubbish or chemicals from factories, farming and homes. Keep your local streams clean for fish to live and breathe in.

» Find out how else you can help to protect Sri Lanka's endangered species

Illustration by Aisa Hewatathirana

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