Home
Donate Sign up for e-network
CENTER for BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY Because life is good
ABOUT ACTION PROGRAMS SPECIES NEWSROOM PUBLICATIONS SUPPORT

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Find out more from the
Center for Biological Diversity:
Fish

Arizona Republic, July 26, 2014

Arizona's Zuni bluehead sucker fish endangered
By Jessica Floum

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week added the Zuni bluehead sucker, a small fish found in the Little Colorado River watershed of Arizona and New Mexico, to the list of species protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The fish is the 121st of more than 700 species whose endangerment status Fish and Wildlife agreed to determine by 2018 in a legal settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity, according to a release.

"We've tried to spur the process along as best we can, and we're very excited to see the animal get the protection it's getting today," said Michael Robinson, a conservation advocate for the center.

The Zuni bluehead sucker is an attractive silvery-green fish that eats plant material, invertebrates, algae and small water insects. In Arizona, it is found only in Apache County's Kinlichee Creek, a tributary of the Little Colorado.

"This is a unique ecosystem that has this charm of a fish found nowhere else," Robinson said. "It's incumbent on us to protect it."

Fish and Wildlife does not know how many of the fish are left, but the population has shrunk significantly, said Lesley Fitzpatrick, aquatic-species recovery coordinator.

Protection under the Endangered Species Act gives the fish security in the face of federally funded projects that could affect the species or its habitat, she said.

It also increases the opportunity for recovery programs to reduce existing threats.

Among the threats to the fish's shrinking ecosystem are livestock grazing and drought.


© 2014 azcentral.com.

This article originally appeared here.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton