Fishermen caught a giant stingray in the Mekong River in Cambodia’s northeastern Stung Treng province. Scientists helped return the animal alive.
Cambodian fishermen hooked the endangered giant freshwater stingray in the Mekong River. The female stingray had swallowed a smaller fish caught by a baited hook.
A team of experts worked with the fishermen to unhook the stingray and weighed and measured her before returning her to the river.
“We were contacted by local fishermen that they had caught a big giant stingray. Our team immediately went out to the river, confirmed that the fishermen had in fact caught a 180 kilo [396 lbs], four-metre-long [13-foot] giant stingray, and we went immediately to work to release the stingray back into the river,” Zeb Hogan, a fish biologist at the University of Nevada, said.
“We were able to get the stingray into a nice spot of the river, get the hook out, we placed it on a tarp and then pushed her out into the river and watched her slowly swim away on the surface of the river. I think that was a very hopeful and inspiring moment for everybody involved,” Hogan added.
Hogan said that the catch was significant because it “confirms the existence of these big fish in the stretch of river.” More than 1,000 fish species live in the Mekong river.
The location where the stingray was caught has pools of up to 80 metres deep and could be home to even bigger animals. But plans to build dams in the river and plastic pollution put these underwater animals in danger.
Underwater video footage showed a lot of pollution: plastic waste even in the deepest stretches of the Mekong, along with abandoned fisher nets.
Environmentalists have long been concerned that building dams along the Mekong River will destroy fish stocks.
The Animal Reader is a small independent animal news platform based in the Netherlands. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.