ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201907.0030.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior And Systematics Keywords: aquarists; aquarium trade; captive-breeding; IUCN red list; ornamental fish; threatened fish; undescribed species
Online: 2 July 2019 (04:18:04 CEST)
Freshwater fish represent half of all fish species and are the most threatened vertebrate group. Given their considerable passion and knowledge, aquarium hobbyists can play a vital role in their conservation. CARES is made up of many hobbyist organizations, whose purpose is to encourage aquarium hobbyists to the most endangered or extinct-in-the-wild freshwater fish to help ensure their survival. We found the CARES priority list contains nearly six hundred species from twenty families and two dozen species extinct-in-the-wild. The major families were typically the ones with largest hobbyist affiliations such as killifish, livebearers, and cichlids; which alone were half of CARES species. CARES contained every IUCN threatened species of Pseudomugilidae and Valenciidae, but only one percent of threatened Characidae, Cobitidae, and Gobiidae species. No Loricariidae in CARES were in the IUCN red list as they were not scientifically described. Tanzania and Mexico contained the largest amount of species, with the latter containing the most endemics. A large percent of species were classified differently than the IUCN, including a third of extinct-in-the-wild species classified as least concern by the IUCN. The vast disconnect exemplifies the importance of collaboration and information exchange required between hobbyists, the scientific community, and conservation organizations.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202307.0845.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Environmental Science Keywords: funding; ex situ; education; EAZA; European Association of Zoos and Aquaria; EUAC; European Union of Aquarium Curators
Online: 13 July 2023 (05:10:30 CEST)
The European Union of Aquarium Curators (EUAC) includes 150 members and is an important association for the European public aquarium community. Since 2004, over one quarter of a million euros were awarded by the EUAC Conservation Fund to approximately 50 projects, which spanned across the globe. While projects varied greatly in content and scope, several achieved a significant impact in local populations and/or their focus species. This paper reports on results achieved by these conservation efforts and what improvements can be made, to ensure that the funding is indeed invested in conservation efforts per se. Perhaps the most valid conclusion to be drawn from the list of projects covered in this work is the fact that, regardless of the outcome, as far as preservation of the species are concerned, local communities were actively engaged in a subject that would, otherwise, remain unknown to them. Additionally, these EUAC funded projects highlight how public aquarium activities reach far beyond the acrylic panels surrounding the tanks and indeed the walls of the institution, as they spread around the world and raise awareness within local communities to preserve biodiversity. These results further suggest that a future direction for EUAC, as well as the public aquaria it consists of, could – indeed should - include more strenuous lobbying with legislating bodies, to ensure more adequate – and stronger – in situ conservation measures. In conclusion, with so many doubts being raised by different movements about the existence of aquaria and zoos, it is important that the public is aware that it is their visit to see the ambassadors of different species of animals that supports the funding of many of these pilot projects that aim to preserve species in their natural environment.