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Giant sturgeon to make new home in Beijing Aquarium
2005-02-28 07:25:53 XinhuaEnglish

BEIJING, Feb. 28(Xinhuanet)-- A large Chinese sturgeon, a fish believed to be a contemporary of dinosaurs, will spend the rest ofits life in the Beijing Aquarium, the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences(CAFS) said Monday.

The 360-cm, 432-kg sturgeon, which was found in the Yangtze River in November 2004, will be held in sea water in the Beijing Aquarium.

The sturgeon, the biggest found in China in the past two decades, was injured on its way to the upper reaches of the Yangtze to spawn.

As the oldest living vertebrate on the earth, the species has roamed the earth for about 140 million years. From October to November each year, Chinese sturgeons swim to the upper reaches ofthe Yangtze River to spawn and then carry their fry back to the sea.

After it was rescued, the fish spent more than three months at a reproduction base in Jingzhou, a city on the Yangtze River in central China's Hubei Province.

The aquarium will turn its shark section for home of the sturgeon, according to its agreement with the CAFS.

Experts in Beijing will research on the sexual maturity of the domesticated fish. The female sturgeon is estimated to be between 25 to 35 years old. Sturgeons live to be at most 35 years old.

Experts said it is not proper to free the sturgeon of this age into the river, where it might face more survival challenges.

The CAFS hopes that the exhibition of the sturgeon at the aquarium, a popular holiday destination in the country's capital, can help arouse people's awareness of protecting this endangered species, which is under state protection.

Experts estimated that fewer then 500 Chinese sturgeons can migrate for spawning each year.

Visitors to the Beijing Aquarium are expected to see the sturgeon king on April 22, the world's Earth Day, according to theagreement, but the two sides have not yet decided on when and how the big fish will be shipped to Beijing.

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