A whale of a fish

Meet the tiger of the waters-the Humpback Mahseer, the massive fish that is only found in the River Cauvery in Southern India. Though the fish has been known to humans for more than 100 years, only recently has it been given its special scientific name. Sadly though, it has also now made its way into the IUCN Red List of critically endangered species.

The fish can grow up to 1.5 metres in length and weighs about 55 kg. Not surprising then that it is also known as the ‘Tiger of the Water’, for the fight it puts up when someone tries to reel it in. Although the fish was identified way back in 1873, it was rarely seen until a fishing expedition to the Cauvery stumbled upon it in 1977. It would take another 30 years before the fish was studied and given a scientific name- Tor Remadevii-in the year 2018.

Within months, it was included in the IUCN Red List of critically endangered species.  The fish has been endangered for some time but couldn’t be included in the Red List until it was studied and classified. Its inclusion in list is important as people then become aware of the need to conserve it. In addition to over-fishing, the mahseer has suffered due to water pollution and construction of dams that have shrunk its habitat.