The London Zoo is seeking a mate for a fish that is critically endangered. The Mangarahara cichlid is though to be extinct in the wild, because the species’ habitat in Madagascar dried up from dam construction.
Zoo officials know of three Mangaraharas in captivity, two males at the London Zoo and one male in Berlin. London Zoo aquarium curator Brian Zimmerman stated:
“It might be too late for their wild counterparts, but if we can find a female, it’s not too late for the species. Here at ZSL London Zoo we have two healthy males, as well as the facilities and expertise to make a real difference.”
With that in mind, the zoo has placed an ad in the fish seeking mate section of the classifieds. The zoo asked aquarium owners and fish collectors on Friday to come forward if they know of any still-living females “so that a vital conservation breeding program can be started.”
However, officials cautioned that there used to be a female at the German zoo. But when breeding attempts were made, the female was killed by the male. Zimmerman explained, “It’s a fairly common thing with cichlids.” Unfortunately, it may have signaled the end of the species.
The fish seeking a mate has an additional problem — it’s not pretty. But, that will make it easier for collectors to know if they have a Mangarahara cichlid or not. Zimmerman stated:
“They’re not a particularly beautiful fish — they are gorgeously ugly, they are unusual. They are more a connoisseur’s type of fish. They need quite a bit of space; the males are bigger than your hand, and they need a decent tank.”
But despite the fish seeking mate ads, Zimmerman isn’t optimistic about the future of the species. He added, “I think there’s probably a very slim to no chance of this fish surviving.”
But, if you know a female Mangarahara cichlid, that could fill the fish seeking mate ad, the London Zoo asks to email the team at email@example.com.