Dear cichlid friend,
It has been a long time since the last update, but we have some great news. To start off, David Nkhwazi had 104 juveniles/subadults of P. saulosi ready to be released early September when Larry Johnson and his safari participants arrived in Malawi. Again David has had problems with the weather in May and June which is the coldest time of year in Malawi. Juveniles are of course the most vulnerable fish, but the ones that survived the cold were looking good and bigger than those we released last year.
to be released. Photo by Marc Boulton.
to the reef. Photo by Kathy Brown.
Second release of P. saulosi
Larry and friends took the bagged fish up north and their first stop was Taiwanee Reef to release them. Before they released the fish Larry and three other divers swam around for 15 minutes and did a count of the P. saulosi they saw. Last year we did the same rough estimate of the number of P. saulosi and then we encountered on average 40 fish. This year Larry and his team counted on average 55 P. saulosi! Although this is significantly more than the year before I don’t think it was caused by our initial introduction. It is because of concerned hobbyists like you who do no longer demand wild-caught P. saulosi and so, I think, there is now less pressure on the population. This would also mean that P. saulosi can recover when they abandon fishing for a few years.
Larry estimated that with a few losses during transport he and his friends released about 92 P. saulosi, about three times as many as last year! Great news all around! Thank you so much David, Larry, Pete Barnes, Marc Boulton, Kathy Brown, Dave Hale, Greg Irvine, Adam Delohery, and others who assisted them. The video clip was shot by Pete Barnes. Thank you, Pete!
get a visit from a local (orangey) individual.
Photo by Larry Johnson.
We have got a guard boat!
Dimitri wrote me three weeks ago that they had finally found a suitable boat for our diesel engine. The previous candidates were too big and too expensive for our purpose, but now they located a 6 meter-long boat which they can adapt to fit the engine. Dimitri had already brought the engine back to South Africa where the company doing the fitting is located—Dimitri paid for all transport back and forth between South Africa and Malawi. The boat with the placement of the engine and everything else necessary will cost us about $14,000. Jay Stauffer and I agreed to go ahead and purchase the boat with the fund’s funds. Thank you very much Dimitri! I can’t wait to see a photo of it on Lake Malawi.
Children get involved!
Estelle and Matt at the Blue Zebra Island Lodge continued placing the 100 meter no fishing zone markers. They have now at least 25 buoys placed around Nankoma and Maleri islands. But they did something much more important: on July 16th they started their educational program whereby groups of children (15 per group) visit the lodge. Estelle and Matt, together with Malawi National Park’s game scouts, want to raise awareness of the conservation issues among young people and invited the children, 12 to 17 years of age, of the Maganga Primary and Secondary School’s Wildlife Club for a visit. Apart from giving the children insights in the lodge’s operation they were also taught about the benefits of the environment and in protecting the cichlids. After a good meal provided by the lodge, they headed to the conference room for a dynamic debate about the environment’s growing concern for future generations, which was monitored by Dennis, the park ranger. Dennis discussed the problems of overfishing with the children and what they could do about it. The visit was a huge success and is planned to take place once every month. Thank you, Matt, Estelle, Dennis, Dimitri!
Breeding endangered Lake Tanganyika cichlids
As I mentioned in the last update Chris and Louise Horsfall of the Lakeshore Lodge in Kipili, Tanzania, were planning to breed and reintroduce overfished cichlids. Chris now has made a very professional design for eight vats with shade covers (see figure) and which are supplied by lake water on a continuous basis using a solar pump. They run everything at their Lakeshore Lodge on solar power and also have a solar pump in operation for the lodge’s water supply. Chris likes to use a similar setup for the breeding vats as it proved to work perfectly for many years. He sent me an estimate of how much all would cost (he’s a builder by profession so he knows) and all together with solar pump, panels, switches, etc, would run about $15,000. I hope you all agree that the fund pays for this important endeavor.
At present the species most at risk in Lake Tanganyika are Tropheus duboisi “Maswa”, Tropheus moorii “Tanzania Murago” (just heard that an exporter found the tiny population, so we need to work on that fish as soon as possible before they are all gone), Ophthalmotilapia boops “Blue Neon”, and Petrochromis sp. ‘red’ (which we’ll keep for last as that will be the most difficult to breed).
I’m very pleased to let you know that more and more concerned aquarists are donating to the cause. I would like to highlight a few of large and far away donations. Wojciech Sierakowski of the Klub Malawi in Poland (www.klub-malawi.pl) organized an auction among their members in April this year which culminated in a donation of $716! Thank you Wojciech!
We received a donation from an unfortunate event, i.e. the dismantling of the Minnesota chapter of the Midwest Cichlid Association, of $640! Thank you Bob Randall for thinking of cichlid conservation!
The Babes In The Cichlid Hobby donated this year a staggering $3000! You don’t pay admission to their great parties, uhhh, auctions, but you really want to reward their efforts in raising awareness of conservation. Thank you ladies!
The most interesting effort of raising money for cichlid conservation was performed by Dave Schumacher of Dave’s Rare Aquarium Fish. He challenged the East Coast Monster Fish Konvention (a convention put on jointly by East Coast Cichlids and Monster Fish Keepers in NJ), where he spoke in August, that (because they had given him a hard time about his hair and beard) they could cut his hair and trim his beard however they'd liked, if they could raise $1000 for the Stuart Grant Fund. Well, they raised over $1100 on fundrazr.com even before the convention started, and by the end of the convention, they had raised $2315 in total!! Wild idea, Dave! Thanks for keeping the cichlids in the wild as well! Dave’s response: “My hair will come back, but there are many Malawi cichlids that won't.”
As always THANK YOU very much for your continued support! Enjoy your cichlids!