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Ocean Park Euthanizes a Chinese Sturgeon

2014-10-11

After thorough examination of all Chinese sturgeons at Ocean Park by the Park’s veterinary team and experts from the Yangtze River Fishery Research Institution (YRFRI) on 10 October 2014, a Chinese sturgeon that had been undergoing intensive treatment was recommended to be euthanized, and was put down today, 11 October 2014. The euthanized sturgeon failed to respond to treatment, causing its health condition to deteriorate to reach a humane endpoint. After reviewing all options and consulting sturgeon experts in China, the Park’s veterinary team decided that the most humane option was to euthanize it. This decision is to prevent the fish from further suffering, which is also in line with the approved euthanasia policy of Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

The sturgeon was part of 15 captive bred Chinese sturgeons donated to Ocean Park in February 2014 by Yangtze River Fishery Research Institution (YRFRI). Five sturgeons were identified with signs of bacterial infection during the early quarantine period and they were immediately separated from the other 10 healthy sturgeons. While one of these five infected sturgeons recovered later and rejoined the other healthy populations, three sturgeons passed away in April, May and September respectively this year. During the course of events, Ocean Park has been working closely with the experts from the YRFRI and Beijing Aquarium on treating the sturgeons.

Ms. Suzanne Gendron, Executive Director of Zoological Operations and Education, said, "The remaining 11 sturgeons continue to be under the close care of the Park’s aquarists and veterinary teams, and are in apparent fine health."

Prof. Wei Qi-wei, Director of Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, said, "This sporadic disease, often fatal and highly infectious, also occurs in Chinese sturgeons in facilities in Mainland China. Though Ocean Park has lost four sturgeons this time, we are confident that the Park will continue to provide excellent care to the remaining 11 Chinese sturgeons and serve as an education platform for the efforts being made to breed and conserve the species."

The Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD), Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China and NAWCA were notified of the incident immediately.