[Source: Arizona Outdoor News] – Two endangered species of native fish became the newest residents to the outdoor ponds at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center. Nearly 500 desert pupfish and 550 Gila topminnow were released yesterday into the center’s ponds as part of a program aimed at allowing private landowners to participate in the conservation of threatened and endangered species.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is working to establish new populations of these fish at large, secure ponds in an effort to build up the populations for future stockings. The Audubon Center ponds are expected to produce thousands of topminnow and pupfish each year.
“Thanks in part to support from the Heritage Fund, we are working with our partners to re-establish these rare native fish across their historical range in Arizona,” says Jeff Sorensen, native fish and invertebrate program manager for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “The fish we released this week should provide us with offspring that can be used to re-establish the species in new locations.”
The release was part of the Safe Harbor program that allows non-federal landowners to actively participate in the recovery of these endangered fish by providing sites to establish populations of the species in areas where it no longer exists. The Audubon Center is the tenth participant enrolled in the program. “Audubon Arizona is excited to provide a safe harbor for these native Arizona fish,” says Cathy Wise, Audubon Arizona education director [to read the full article, click here].