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Biodiversity Loss

Biodiversity Loss - The condition or result of being changed of plant and animal life in a particular habitat (or in the world as a whole).

I believe that being a fish or pet hobbyist, each and every one of us share a certain amount of compassion towards wildlife and we hope to do our part. Fynnmood Club would like to share an abstract from the report by “Thailand on the Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity – National Report”.

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Thailand’s biodiversity has long been under threat. One reason for this is the practice of slash and burn agriculture and misuse of land originally intended for agriculture. For example, many ponds have been transformed to give way to development projects such as mining, dam construction, collection of forest products (such as wild orchids) and poaching (including bird hunting and egg picking). All these activities contribute to the destruction of biodiversity. Biodiversity in tourist areas has also been damaged due to the accumulation of solid waste, heavy pollution, collection of shells and fishes, and so on.

Threatened Species

Threatened species in Thailand include 116 mammals, 180 birds, 32 (33 forms) reptiles, 5 amphibians, 215 fish species, and at least 1,424 plant species.

Endemic Species refers to animals or plants that are native to a certain limited area.

At one time or another, at least 720 freshwater fish species and 2,100 sea fishes have been found in Thailand. One that is now extinct from the world is the pangassius catfish (Platytropius siamensis). Two that are extinct from Thailand in the wild are the Siamese tiger fish (Datnioides pulcher) and black–tipped silver shark (Balantiocheilos melanopterus).

Some of the 18 critically endangered fish spices are the green sawfish (Pristis zijsron), largetooth sawfish (P. microdon) and smalltooth sawfish (P. pectinata) (easily caught using fishing gears because of its large size and spine) and the Mekong giant catfish (Pangasianodon gigas) (not seen in the northeastern basin for a long time).

There are at least 43 endangered species. Four of these are sharks, i.e. tiger shark

(Galeocerdo cuvier), winghead hammerhead shark (Eusphyrna blochi), scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna leweni) and great hammerhead shark (S. mokarran) (hunted for food). Four other species that are rare as their habitats are disturbed by fishing activities are the sharpnose guitarfish (Rhinobatos granulatus), yellow guitarfish (R. schlegelii), clubnose guitarfish (R. thouin) and giant shovelnose ray (R. typus). In addition, many freshwater fish species are threatened due to changes in the use of water channels, swamps and ponds.

There are at least 155 vulnerable species and at least 20 near threatened species.

There are 72 endemic fish species, such as Balitoridae (18 species), Cyprinidae (20 species) and catfishes (20 species). More than half of the endemic species are threatened. A wide diversity of large fishes can be found at certain areas in the Bang Pakong basin in Chanthaburi Pronvince, and from Hin Grood down to Chumpon Province, Songkhla Lake, Surin Islands and Similan Islands. However, these are under threat from over–fishing. Areas with the highest freshwater fish diversity are the Mekong River Basin, forest areas in the western region, Borapet swamp, Salween forest, Hala–bala forest and Toh Daeng peat swamp.

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I hope you will find this abstracted article informative and educating. As for myself, despite my eagerness to add some endangered species to my pet list at time, I would now reconsider my action and what it would cause to the wildlife.

The good thing about goldfish keeping is that the hobbyists would not have to worry about ‘endangering’ these species. Goldfish, itself does not exist in wild, goldfish is the ‘creation’ from breeders through 1000 year of selective breeding and natural genetic mutation.

On the contrary, it is important for hobbyists to continue to show interest in different varieties of goldfish as an encouragement to breeders to come out with new variety of goldfish. It is sad to see some of the traditional goldfish like the Celestial eye goldfish, Bubble eye goldfish, Shou Xing Gong (normally known as Lion Head), Narial Bouquets Goldfish (pom pom), etc getting lesser due to the lack of interest from hobbyists. Hence, the varieties of goldfish available and developments are very dependent to the hobbyists’ interests.

Current the dominating varieties of goldfish are: Ranchu, Rykin, Oranda and Dragon Eye. In the recently years, new varieties of goldfish have developed like: Goose-head Pearl Scale, Lionchu, Oranda with Ryukin body shape, etc. This is a good sign for goldfish hobby.

I guess this is not the first article that I have expressed my fascination over the history of goldfish development. Imagine, one day, out of a blue, all the goldfish in the world disappeared, probably hobbyists will have to wait for another one thousand years (may be short period with the model science) before they can have the joy of keeping so many different varieties of goldfish in present day.

So for those hobbyists who have given up the hunt for endanger species as pets for the sake of preserving the wildlife, perhaps one can consider this beautiful pet – GOLDFISH.

Happy Goldfish / Fish keeping or Pet keeping!

Cheers,
Steven TONG

 
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