​Beijing Aquarium promotes protecting Chinese sturgeon

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, April 26, 2022
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On April 22, Beijing Aquarium held an event marking Earth Day to promote the protection of the endangered Chinese sturgeon.

Wang Zhechen (left), general manager of the Beijing Aquarium, poses for a group photo with special guests alongside the Chinese sturgeon mascot "Houfu" at an event marking Earth Day at the Beijing Aquarium, April 22, 2022. [Photo courtesy of Beijing Aquarium]

The Chinese sturgeon is one of the oldest vertebrates on Earth, and is of inestimable scientific and social value for studying changes to the planet and maintaining the balance of the ecosystem. However, due to a variety of factors, its natural reproduction has been interrupted, and this ancient species is in urgent need of saving.

"Compared with the giant panda, there are even fewer Chinese sturgeon in the wild today," said Wang Zhechen, general manager of the Beijing Aquarium. "But the Chinese sturgeon is far less famous than the giant panda."

On this year's Earth Day, the Beijing Aquarium and online education platform VIPKid announced they had co-designed a mascot of a Chinese sturgeon named "Houfu." The announcement marks the beginning of a series of marine science projects designed to boost the protection of at-risk species, so that the public — and especially children — can learn more about the endangered Chinese sturgeon, Wang added.

"Houfu" is based on a real Chinese sturgeon bearing the same name which lived in the Yangtze River before it was accidentally caught by fishermen. Despite being close to death, it was taken to the Beijing Aquarium for six months of treatment and eventually recovered thanks to the aquarium's medical experts and breeders, who even developed a special food for it.

However, after its recovery, the sturgeon's condition and age meant that it was unable to return to the wild. As such, it remained in the Beijing Aquarium where it has lived for almost seven years.

A diver interacts with the Chinese sturgeon Houfu at the Beijing Aquarium, April 22, 2022. [Photo courtesy of Beijing Aquarium]

Li Yanliang, chairman of the National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association, also made an appeal at the event, "Attempts to protect the Chinese sturgeon not only concern the success or failure of protecting a single species of fish, but are also key to the overall protection of the biodiversity and water ecology of the Yangtze River."

The Beijing Aquarium will work with several partners to develop a Chinese sturgeon franchise, including a multimedia ocean science popularization project with VIPKid, and a Chinese sturgeon digital ticket project with online payment platform Alipay. 

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