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Euthanasia of a Second Filial Generation Captive Bred Chinese Sturgeon at Ocean Park


Ocean Park is saddened to announce the euthanasia of a second filial generation captive bred Chinese sturgeon today.
Since mid-June, the sturgeon showed signs of illness, including reduced appetite and activity. Although preliminary body examination did not indicate any obvious cause, the Park’s animal care and veterinary team attempted a variety of diagnostic and treatment modalities, such as antibiotic and use of a variety of fish feed to stimulate food intake. However, its condition continued to decline and it became very ill this morning. As no further treatment options were available, the Park’s veterinarians recommended humane euthanasia for the sturgeon, which is in line with veterinary ethics, animal welfare, and the approved euthanasia policy of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing Aquarium, Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute (YRFRI) and the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department have also been notified of the sturgeon’s condition and the need for euthanasia.
Suzanne Gendron, Executive Director of Zoological Operations and Conservation at Ocean Park, said, “It is with deep sadness that we had to come to this decision. Our veterinary team is currently conducting a necropsy on the fish to identify the root cause of its illness.”
Dr. Du Hao of YRFRI, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, said, “We are deeply saddened by the death of this sturgeon and are thankful for Ocean Park’s utmost effort. It is inevitable that fish will be influenced by hereditary and environmental factors. The fact that the second filial generation Chinese sturgeon can thrive in an aquarium setting underscores the contribution of active conservation. Our attempts have resulted in large scale reproduction of the second filial generation Chinese sturgeon. Occasional incidents of death may be considered to be normal phenomena. With much effort, many captive bred second filial generation Chinese sturgeons have grown up healthily, realising our breeding goals. Active conservation has protected the Chinese sturgeon from extinction. We will continue to perfect the conditions for breeding to ensure the healthy life of generations of sturgeons to come.”
Ocean Park returned three captive bred Chinese sturgeons to Mainland China in May according to an agreed plan with the National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association, whereby sturgeons raised at the Park would be returned to facilities under YRFRI for research or release programmes after they grow to the requisite size. Currently, there are six captive bred sturgeons residing at the Park’s Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium – Yangtze Exploration.