Golf course water hazards and man-made ponds make up a significant percentage of the Bermudian killifish’s habitat. With an extremely limited range these rare fish are at risk of extinction from even a small change in the local environment. To provide a vital safety net, Chester Zoo conservationists have established a small population of the fish in Chester, setting up the UK’s first ever breeding programme for the species.
“No golfer wants to end up in a water hazard, but without the existence of these courses and the protection they provide for these surrounding natural water features, unique habitats and species could have been lost,” said Dr Gerardo Garcia, Chester Zoo’s Curator of Lower Vertebrates & Invertebrates. “Now we know how perilous the situation is for the Bermudian killifish, we are going to try everything possible to help save them from extinction – by working closely with the Bermudian government and by establishing the UK’s first ever breeding programme for the species.”
Dr Mark Outerbridge, Wildlife Ecologist at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Bermuda, said: “Chester Zoo has proven to be a valued ally in the ex-situ breeding and husbandry of four island endemics (the killifish, a skink and two species of land snails). Knowing that there are established populations of these very rare animals in captivity outside of Bermuda gives me greater confidence in their longer term chances of survival.”
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