The Azraq Red List team in front of a pond full of alien fishes.
The Middle East is one of the most important biodiversity hotspots for freshwater biodiversity. In late April 2013, a team of international experts came together to review draft assessments of IUCN Red Lists of freshwater fishes, mollusks and plants to prepare the Red List assessments of these taxa. The review workshop was held in the famous Azraq oasis in Jordan in late April 2013. Despite generous hospitality by the Jordanian Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, nice sunshine, fine bird migration and many inspiring discussions with all colleagues, the workshop was hard work. Have also a look at the report in the IUCN newsletter. Here are some impressions.
Fish first: Jordanian Azraq reserve is the home of an endemic species of Aphanius
Despite exemplary awareness rising, the Azraq killifish is now completely conservation depending in its natural habitat. As the water table has been pumped down in the oasis, the springs have dried out in the early 1990th. Since, water is pumped into the wetland. Furthermore, alien cichlids have not been consequently eradicated. While large ponds with Aphanius only exist in the wetland, some are still infected with aliens.
The fish team: Atheer Ali (Basra), Kevin Smith (IUCN), Güler Ekmekci (Ankara) and Jörg Freyhof (Berlin)
Looks nice: An Aphanius pond in Azraq oasis infected with alien cichlids