Syr Darya shovelnose sturgeon
Scientific name: Pseudoscaphirhynchus fedtschenkoi
Range: Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, where it is endemic to the Syr Darya River
When last seen: 1960s
Suspected reason for disappearance: Huge water abstraction from the Syr Darya River and Aral Sea led to the Aral Sea drying up by more than 60 per cent between 1973 and 2000. Habitat loss and fragmentation are likely, as damming is common in its range. Polluted waters are also likely to be a contributing factor.
IUCN conservation status: Critically Endangered
Facts: A previous expedition team from the Tennessee Aquarium, Eurasian Regional Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and Kazakhstan Fisheries Research and Production Center, supported by Global Wildlife Conservation (now called Re:wild), went to Kazakhstan on a previous mission to find the Syr Darya shovelnose sturgeon. Although they were unsuccessful in their search, they returned home feeling positive that the species was still out there, waiting to be found.
Size: It’s among the world’s smallest sturgeon species and grows up to only 65cm, including its long tail filament.