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This Sacred Golden Fish Thrives in Bhutan | Nat Geo Wild

(tranquil music) – Bhutan’s aquatic biodiversity is not well studied but we know it’s one of the
most pristine river systems now, in the region. (tranquil music) Being in the Himalayas,
I think for Bhutan, rivers are very important. It’s like the veins in our body. And they really drive
a lot of inspiration, not just from the physical aspects but also culturally, traditionally, and also from a spiritual
perspective as well. (tranquil music) – This Manas River is biggest and longest river in Bhutan. Golden mahseer, scientifically
known as Tor putitora. It’s widely found in Manas, and it is critical endangered species. Without it, without that Golden
it will be very difficult to maintain the ecosystem of the river, because it plays a very
pivotal role in food chains as the top predators. – We always consider them
as the tiger of the river, because of the various reasons. One reason is this, that
they have so much strength compared to other fishes. They can grow up to like
40, 50 kilos in size. They can be seen on four,
three, four feet long. Imagine having four feet wild
fish running in the river and when you see them in
the water it’s amazing. (tranquil music) – Golden mahseer has a very, you know a very important
cultural significance. It is one of eight
lucky signs in Buddhism, which is the golden fishes, which is associated with really, freedom you know, freedom in water. There’s lot of like cultural
and spiritual association. But other than that I think people really didn’t
seem to know much about the freshwater biodiversity
and their role, and the important ecosystem
services that they provide. (tranquil music) – Before going for
fishings, what we usually do is look for best spot for
construction of receiver stations We select a very good fishing spot, we go there, we fish. If we catch a fish and
we have a standard size, then only we anaesthetize the fish, we implant the tag and let
it recover for a while. Once the fish is fully recovered
then only we release them. (tranquil music) – In the mahseer range countries, now Bhutan is the last
remaining country, you know, where you can find pristine wild genetic stock of golden mahseer. The good thing in Bhutan
is that we recognize the importance of renewable clean energy. We recognize the importance
of freshwater conservation. The authorities and the government people are willing to sit across
the table and listen. That’s why this radio telemetry
study was very important, because we use to have dialogues among environment colleagues. If we want to go have a serious discussion with the guys from the industry, we also need to have
the data to tell them. We cannot just say this is
important for golden mahseer, because the next thing they
are going to ask you is, do you have the migrations data, you know. So now we have the migrations data, we have the spawning data,
now we can clearly demarcate those areas and say these
areas need to be protected. And that’s why I think
this five years of study was very important.


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