Twenty Years of Repopulation Efforts Down the Drain...

You can't repopulate an endangered species if you're restocking habitats with the wrong species.

According to a study published last week in the journal Molecular Ecology, a 20-year effort to repopulate the endangered greenback cutthroat trout has been almost worthless. Why? It turns out that many (if not most) of the trout raised in hatcheries and released into the wild to help grow the greenback cutthroat trout population were actually from a different subspecies of trout, the Colorado River cutthroat trout.

Until this study was released, biologists believed that the greenback cutthroat trout had rebounded to 20 self-sustaining populations in 142 miles of river, positioning it to be removed from the Endangered Species List. Now, DNA testing reveals that the greenback is found in just 11 miles of river, and is possibly closer to extinction than ever.


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Issue 25

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