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Assessing the Species in the CARES Preservation Program and the Role of Aquarium Hobbyists in Freshwater Fish Conservation

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Department of Bioscience—Biodiversity and Conservation, Aarhus University, Grenåvej 14, 8410 Rønde, Denmark
2
Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 1 Forestry Drive, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Fishes 2019, 4(4), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/fishes4040049
Received: 30 June 2019 / Revised: 12 September 2019 / Accepted: 17 September 2019 / Published: 29 September 2019
Freshwater fish represent half of all fish species and are the most threatened vertebrate group. Given their considerable passion and knowledge, aquarium hobbyists can play a vital role in their conservation. CARES is made up of many organizations, whose purpose is to encourage aquarium hobbyists to devote tank space to the most endangered and overlooked freshwater fish to ensure their survival. We found the CARES priority list contains nearly six hundred species from twenty families and two dozen extinct-in-the-wild species. The major families were typically those with the largest hobbyist affiliations such as killifish, livebearers, and cichlids, the latter containing half of CARES species. CARES included every IUCN threatened species of Pseudomugilidae and Valenciidae, but only one percent of threatened Characidae, Cobitidae, and Gobiidae species. No Loricariidae in CARES were in the IUCN red list as they have not been scientifically described. Tanzania and Mexico contained the largest amount of species, with the latter containing the most endemics. Many species were classified differently than the IUCN, including a third of extinct-in-the-wild species classified as least concern by the IUCN. This vast disconnect exemplifies the importance of future collaboration and information exchange required between hobbyists, the scientific community, and conservation organizations. View Full-Text
Keywords: aquarists; aquarium trade; captive-breeding; IUCN red list; ornamental fish; threatened fish; undescribed species aquarists; aquarium trade; captive-breeding; IUCN red list; ornamental fish; threatened fish; undescribed species
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Valdez, J.W.; Mandrekar, K. Assessing the Species in the CARES Preservation Program and the Role of Aquarium Hobbyists in Freshwater Fish Conservation. Fishes 2019, 4, 49.

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