CRITICALLY ENDANGERED MEKONG GIANT CATFISH SPLASHES INTO RIVER SAFARI
March 6, 2013
conservation, critically-endangered, education, entertainment, mekong giant catfish, mekong river, recreation, River Safari, rivers of the world, wildlife, wildlife park, world's largest freshwater fish
Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park home to some of the world’s largest species of freshwater fish.
Singapore, 6 March 2013 – One of the many giants of River Safari – the Mekong giant catfish – moved into the soon-to-be-opened wildlife park today. This species is one of the world’s largest freshwater fish, capable of growing up to 3 metres in length and nearly 300 kilogrammes in weight.
Found mainly in the lower Mekong River in Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, the Mekong Giant Catfish is critically endangered as a result of human activities such as overfishing, pollution and the looming construction of hydroelectric dams. Experts estimate that the total population has decreased by 90% in the last decade, with only a few hundred individuals remaining in the wild.
As Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park, River Safari aims to create a greater awareness of freshwater habitat conservation by bringing visitors up close to fascinating animals – like the Mekong Giant Catfish – that are dependent on freshwater habitats. In addition, through captive breeding programmes, River Safari hopes to contribute to the population of endangered freshwater species.
Aquarists prepare to move the Mekong Giant Catfish – one of the world’s largest species of freshwater fish – into its aquarium at the Mekong River zone of the soon-to-be-opened River Safari. The Mekong Giant Catfish in River Safari were obtained from the only captive breeder in Thailand and arrived at the park’s holding facility in May 2010.
A group of school children were among the first to marvel at the aquarium which houses the Mekong Giant Catfish (centre, right), one of the largest species of freshwater fish, on the day they were moved into the soon-to-be-opened River Safari. The aquarium is the highlight of the Mekong River zone and will also feature other megafishes such as the Giant Freshwater Stingray.
Despite its extraordinary size, the Mekong Giant Catfish (that can be seen at the soon-to-be opened River Safari) is a herbivore that lives on a diet of algae and other plants on the riverbed. River Safari aims to create a greater awareness of freshwater habitat conservation by bringing visitors up close to fascinating underwater and terrestrial animals that are dependent on freshwater habitats.