25 August 202
A team of researchers from the Department of Zoology, Andhra Pradesh have sighted a rare fish called Masheer in the upper part of the Sileru river.
- Scientific name is Tor putitora.
- IUCN Status- Endangered.
- Mahseer, is normally found in the Himalayan region in the rivers running through the cooler climes of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Nepal and Bhutan.
- Golden Mahseer is found in the Himalayan region, where the temperature around year does not exceed 20° Celsius.
- It is rare to find it in the southern part of the country
- It was sighted and picked up in 2018 from this region, but the fresh finding indicates that they are breeding and are native to this region.
- Grey Masheer and 135 fish species are found in Godavari.
- However, golden masheer is rarely found here.
- It can grow up to 20 kg while the one found weighs around 7 kg and is over 47 cm long.
Significance of Golden Masheer:
- All animals, including fishes are sensitive to temperature and it is a limiting factor.
- Masheer is a sensitive species and cannot tolerate changes in the environment.
- This Golden Mahseer can withstand extreme temperature up to zero degree Celsius, as it has the unique anti-freezing protein.
- The anti-freezing protein can be extracted for developing alternative therapy for our troops posted in Siachen and at other hostile places. This protein does not allow the formation of ice cones in the blood, which normally happens in sub-zero temperatures.
- Golden Mahseer found in Sileru and the grey ones found in the Godavari, need to be conserved and reared for their commercial and medicinal values.
- The upper part of the Polavaram dam, where the depth is good and the area is vast, provides a natural environment for conserving and breeding this fish.
About Hump-Backed Masheer:
- IUCN Status –Critically endangered.
- India is the only country where it is found in the river Kaveri.
- It is a project launched by SHOAL, an international organisation that is working to conserve fresh water species.
- Destruction of habitat, construction of dams, poaching and indiscriminate fishing.
- The Wildlife Protection Act does not give any protection to Masheer.
- The National Fisheries Act also has no mention of it.
- Lack of information about the species, migration patterns ,population size and geographical distribution are causes of concern.
- The first International Conference to save Masheer was held in Bhutan in 2018.
- In 2014 WWF-India convened a forum on this in Delhi.
- Conferences recommended a research in ecology of Masheer and ensure artificial breeding.
About Sileru River:
- It is a tributary of Sabari river.
- It originates in Andhra Pradesh and merges with Sabari.
- Sabari merges with Godavari in Andhra Pradesh.
- Sileru has huge hydro-electrical potential.
- The hydro- electrical projects across Sileru are MAchund,Balimela,Upper Sileru.Donkarayi and Lower Sileru hydro.