Beijing Aquarium to release two Chinese sturgeons into Yangtze River

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Two captive-bred Chinese sturgeons from Beijing Aquarium are set to be returned to a conservation center in Jingzhou, central China's Hubei province, to mark Chinese Sturgeon Protection Day on March 28.

The initiative aims to help researchers study the breeding behaviors of the rare fish species. The released sturgeons are expected to spawn in their natural habitat in the Yangtze River, a behavior that has not been observed among the wild population for years.

Since 2005, Beijing Aquarium has intensified its efforts to rescue Chinese sturgeon by participating in artificial breeding programs and reintroducing the species to their natural environment.

In 2015, the aquarium rescued an injured wild Chinese sturgeon named "Houfu" and developed specialized food to help it eat in an entirely artificial habitat. Having thrived in the aquarium for nearly eight years, "Houfu" is the world's only wild Chinese sturgeon known to be living in an artificial environment.

Often referred to as "aquatic pandas," the Chinese sturgeon is one of the world's oldest living species and is a national first-class protected animal in China.

To boost the reproduction and recovery of the wild population, China implemented a 10-year fishing ban in key areas of the Yangtze River in 2021 and has continued efforts to restore the region's ecosystem. The operator of the Three Gorges Dam has released nearly 5.3 million Chinese sturgeons into the Yangtze River in 38 years since 1984.

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