Habitat destruction occurs when the conditions necessary for plants and animals to survive are significantly compromised or eliminated.
Most areas of the world’s oceans are experiencing habitat loss. But coastal areas, with their closeness to human population centers, have suffered disproportionately and mainly from man-made stresses. Habitat loss here has far-reaching impacts on the entire ocean’s biodiversity. These critical areas, which include estuaries, swamps, marshes, and wetlands, serve as breeding grounds or nurseries for nearly all marine species.
In mid-December, villagers from the coastal Phatthalung province in southern Thailand spotted a Mekong giant catfish thrashing in a local pond. The river mammoth, estimated to weigh about 440 pounds, is well known on an individual basis. In fact, locals call the animal the “swamp king,” and they were alarmed to see that it was stuck in a small pond after heavy rains flooded the area.
Because of the flood in the area, a 440-pound Mekong Giant Catfish lost its way and was left stranded in shallow water more than two miles away from its home.
The Mekong giant catfish is a species of catfish in the shark catfish family. It is grey to white in color and is distinguished by the near-total lack of barbels and the absence of teeth.
Catfishes are a diverse group of ray-finned fishes, named for their prominent barbels, which resemble a cat’s whiskers. The Mekong Giant Catfish is the world’s largest scaleless freshwater fish. The fish was nicknamed as the “Swamp King” as it was really a popular catch in the area.
The villagers worked together in trying to rescue the Catfish back to its habitat. They used a giant net to haul the catfish out of the shallow water and transported it back home via a motorbike trailer.
Some catfish can only survive outside the waters for a few minutes but the entire rescue operation took more than 6 hours. Luckily in Thailand, the catfish was able to survive through those 6 long hours.
The Mekong Giant Catfish is now critically endangered. Overfishing and habitat destruction are the main threats to the survival of these wild species.
The villagers were really happy when they successfully returned the catfish to its habitat. Although their houses may be ruined too, just like what happened with that of the catfish, the villagers were still glad that they became an instrument in the return of the catfish to its rightful home.
Watch the video of the rescue operation below as uploaded by National Geographic:
The old adage of “treating others as you would like to be treated” especially holds true for certain animals that make no bones about going out of their way and caring for others.
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