In novem­ber 2019 The PP was approached by Andrea Swat­man, head of the Aquar­ium Team at Chester Zoo. She had been tasked with

main­tain­ing IUCN insur­ance pop­u­la­tions as an out­come of IUCN (Inter­na­tional Union for Con­ser­va­tion of Nature) ex-​situ man­dates and EAZA (Euro­pean Asso­ci­a­tion of Zoos and Aquaria )Regional Col­lec­tion Plans.

The task is to main­tain ‘insur­ance pop­u­la­tions’ of the REDLIST crit­i­cally endagered species of P. alfredi and P. tweed­iei.

This is a dif­fi­cult task for Chester Zoo to do on their own and because keep­ing ‘insur­ance pop­u­la­tions’ is very close to what we have pre­ciously done with our ‘old’ GOD­FA­THER pro­gram, it was log­i­cal for us to offer to engage in this work.

The Parosphromenus Project there­fore is now engaged in keep­ing, main­tain­ing, breed­ing and report­ing these two species. P. alfredi is only present at very few hold­ers in Europe, but coop­er­a­tion has been estab­lished, and will report this — in Cen­sus, and to Chester Zoo. The same is hap­pen­ing for P. tweediei.

Also, a DNA test­ing of a species, which in the past was wrongly iden­ti­fied as P. tweed­iei, — but actu­ally may be P. alfredi, is underway.

It is our inten­tion to develop this struc­ture in the future to include other species, and other keep­ers. We are quite aware that not all really crit­i­cally endagered species are listed as such on the REDLIST, so this will not stop us from try­ing to cre­ate a struc­ture within the PP — using in par­tic­u­lar Cen­sus — to observe and cre­ate ‘insur­ance pop­u­la­tions’ for other species.

The species we are par­tic­u­larly con­serned about right now are p. deiss­neri, p. rub­ri­mon­tis.

‘Insur­ance pop­u­la­tion’ = IUCN has deter­mined that to pre­vent extinc­tion for one par­tic­u­lar species, it has become more impor­tant to make sure that this species is not kept in too small num­bers with few peo­ple. There­fore they wish to make cer­tain that the species is kept by a min­i­mum of 3 peo­ple, with a stock of a min­i­mum of 50. Such a stock is called an ‘insur­ance pop­u­la­tion’.

IUCN works together with EAZA (Euro­pean Asso­ci­a­tion of Zoos) of which Chester Zoo is a member.

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