(ECNS) -- The Yangtze sturgeon, which was previously declared extinct in the wild, has laid eggs that hatched in the wild without human intervention for the first time in 23 years, a crucial step toward the recovery of its wild population.
The fertilization rate has exceeded 50 percent, said Du Hao, a research fellow from the Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences. He added that the experiment result, which is a global breakthrough, dispelled the doubts about the Yangtze sturgeon's ability to breed in the wild.
Yangtze Sturgeon was listed as a first-class state-protected animal , that had not been seen breeding since 2000. On July 21, 2022, the International Union for Conservation of Nature announced the species "extinct in the wild."
"This is an important milestone for the protection of aquatic species in the Yangtze River," said Du, adding that the scientists first conducted experiments in reproduction in an indoor simulated ecological environment, and then reproduction in the wild, which is a significant step forward.
Zhou Bo, a deputy dean from the Fisheries Research Institute of Sichuan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said that the Yangtze Sturgeon has high requirements of a water environment and habitat.
With better water in the Yangtze River, fish populations have been given more favorable conditions, he said.