A fisherman in east China has caught a wild Chinese sturgeon, one of the world’s oldest living species.
Zhang Liyuan is a fisherman in Anqing City in east China’s Anhui Province.
He captured a wild Chinese sturgeon accidentally during fishing in Wanhe River, a tributary of Yangtze River, earlier this week.
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE): ZHANG LIYUAN, Fisherman
“The moment I saw the fish, I knew it is a Chinese sturgeon. I often read about it in newspapers and brochures.”
Chinese sturgeons, nicknamed “aquatic pandas”, are listed as a wild animal under state protection.
They have existed for about 140 million years, but fewer than 300 are believed to live in the Yangtze River.
The wild Chinese sturgeon is about four years old, with a length of 69 cm and a weight of 1,450 grams.
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE): JIANG ZEQIU, Director, Anqing Fishing Bureau
“This year, water levels in Yangtze River and Wanhe River are high. The sturgeon might swim from Yangtze to Wanhe, as Wanhe has richer food resources and cleaner water.”
The wild Chinese sturgeon has been released to Yangtze River in case that fishermen mistakenly catch it again.
Rapid economic development, over-exploitation of the river, pollution and illegal hunting have driven Chinese sturgeons to the verge of extinction.
China has been working to breed and preserve this endangered species since 1970.