In a move to bring back wild sturgeons from the brink of extinction, the WWF in Bulgaria released thousands of fry into the Danube.
Beluga, Russian, and Stellate sturgeons are on the international list of critically endangered species.
Where once six varieties of sturgeon existed in the Danube, only four remain of these “living fossils.”
In an attempt to revive sturgeon populations, conservationists released 50,000 four-inch baby sturgeons. They hope the fish will survive to maturity and spread their own caviar into the river.
To monitor the stocked fish, the WWF implanted each one with a metal wire numbering system in its left front fin.
“This way we will be able to monitor how they migrate, where they go, how they grow — all this valuable information that is lacking now. In order to protect a species, the first thing that you need to do is to understand its biology and peculiarities,” said WWF project officer Stoyan Mihov.
Encouraged by the capture of several wild sturgeons in the last year, Mihov was elated as the fish were returned safely to the Danube.
“We keep our fingers crossed for as many as possible to survive and we hope to have more good news in a couple of years,” he said.