Arizona to return rare fish after fires

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State and Federal Officials in Arizona, USA, are planning the release of hundreds of rare fish that were rescued during last year's forest fires.

The Gila chub, Gila intermedia, which reaches around 20cm in length, is found in rivers and streams in Mexico, New Mexico and Arizona, and is considered endangered throughout its range.

Volunteers helped rescue 1000 of the rare fish from Arizona rivers last year as fires swept the area. Now that the ash-laden run-off has cleared, it is safe to return the fish to their natural habitat.

It's clear now that if the fish hadn't been removed, the ash run-off would have undoubtedly killed most of them.

According to a report by Yahoo News, monsoon rains washed so much ash into the rivers that the water resembled an oil slick, which wiped out the remaining aquatic creatures. A trial reintroduction into one creek killed 20 fish, but it's now hoped that the ecosystem is ready for the chub to be rereleased.

Don Mitchell, Fisheries Programme Manager for the Arizona Game and Fish Department said: "If we had a good monsoon season and it continued to flush Sabino like we were seeing recently, then I could see chub back in there by the end of the year."