The Mekong giant salmon carp is a freshwater fish and it may not strike the unitiated as a particularly exotic specimen. Yet scientists in Cambodia were elated at seeing a member of this species (Aaptosyax grypus) in local waters.
The reason for that is that the fish had not been seen for two decades and was believed to have gone extinct locally. “1999 was the last recorded sighting of the giant salmon carp in Cambodia. We did not expect to see their return,” Thach Panara, a prominent local scientist, told a local newspaper.
The 6kg specimen, which died soon after being caught by a fisherman near a hydroelectric dam on the river, belongs to a critically endangered species that has seen its habitat shrink greatly over the past decades in the Mekong.