|Bagre in Paloquemao market in Bogotá.|
|This fishseller in Paloquemao was aware of the bagre's |
Saving the bagre, also known as the pez gato or catfish, would be simple in principle, according to the researchers. Since a female can lay 800 eggs at a time, stopping fishing for just couple of years could allow the bagre to recover. But the small fishermen who catch bagre are undoubtedly poor people who can't afford to give up their livelihood for years. But that attitude could doom the bagre fishery forever.
|The bagre didn't become a Colombian staple becuse of its |
Bagre are also suffering other human impacts, including lead poisoning from mining and oil extraction, and pesticides from agriculture. That's yet another reason to think twice before eating bagre.
|Bagre, top, and pez jetón below. |
(Image from the National University.)
Colombia has 1,435 known species of freshwater fish, but 81 of them are in danger of extinction. Undoubtedly, there are many more species to be found: In fact, university researchers recently discovered three new fish species in Antioquia. Most likely, humans are driving other species extinct even before scientists can identify them.
|A Bogotá fish restaurant.|
|The jaguar, now endangered, has played an important cultural role here since pre-Columbian times. Here, a replica of a San Agustin sculpture portraying a figure with human and animal characteristics.|
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours