Small-bodied threatened fish like the gudgeons have been particularly at risk over the past summer and the rehoming at the zoo was part of the NSW Government’s $10 million Native Fish Rescue Strategy.
“These Southern Purple Spotted Gudgeon were rescued late last year from the Macquarie River and relocated into two water bodies in the lion enclosure at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, so they have the best bodyguards,” Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders said.
“This insurance population was established at the Zoo so they would breed, and support the recovery of breed in the wild when conditions have improved.
“The fish are reproducing well at the zoo, with adults found in prime breeding condition and two different sizes of juveniles now present.
“The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) also has five additional rescued Southern Purple Spotted Gudgeons travelling from its Narranderra Hatchery which will be added to the population already at the zoo to improve genetic diversity.”
Taronga Western Plains Zoo Wildlife Conservation Officer Phoebe Meagher said the zoo was excited at the opportunity to partner with the NSW DPI Fisheries to protect the threatened native fish.
“We hope that this population will continue to thrive and we will be working closely with DPI Fisheries to manage this species at the Zoo so that in the future we can reintroduce these fish back into their homes in the wild,” she said.
The Southern Purple Spotted Gudgeon is a small freshwater fish native to Australia and listed as an endangered species in NSW. The fish grow to 15cm in length and are generally found in slow moving rivers, creeks and streams.