Fish 'extinct' for 50 years rediscovered in Turkey

Fish 'extinct' for 50 years rediscovered in Turkey
2 min read
11 December, 2021
The Batman River loach - considered critically endangered - was last spotted in 1974 in the streams and tributaries of the Batman and Ambar rivers.
A total of 14 loaches were found in shallow areas of the Sarim stream and a further nine in the Han stream [Getty]

A freshwater fish thought to have been extinct for half a century has been rediscovered in Turkey, scientists in the country say.

The Batman River loach - considered critically endangered - was last spotted in 1974 in the streams and tributaries of the Batman and Ambar rivers.

“I’ve been researching this area for 12 years and this fish was always on my wishlist,” Dr Cüneyt Kaya, associate professor at Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University, was quoted by The Guardian as saying. “It’s taken a long time. When I saw the distinctive bands on the fish, I felt so happy. It was a perfect moment.”

Kaya, along with genetecist Dr Münevver Oral conducted their search for the tiny 3.6cm fish in the Batman Dam.

“Because the species was lost, we couldn’t know the original natural habitat, so we weren’t sure where to search,” Kava said. “The species is also very small and cylindrical, so the nets’ mesh needed to be smaller. Earlier, we used larger nets and I think the fish went through the nets, so we didn’t find it.”

In their search, the pair found 14 loaches in shallow areas of the Sarim stream and a further nine in the Han stream, The Guardian reported.

The discovery was made possible by support from the Shoal and Re:wild conservation groups, as part of the 'Search For The Lost Fishes' project.

The fish is the first on the project's list of 10 “most wanted” lost species to be found.