C.A.R.E.S. was built on the principle of allowing everyone, whether they are a beginner or advanced hobbyist, to be given a chance to play a role, be a part, and feel as if they are making a difference in the positive future of at risk fishes.
In recent years, conservationists and scientists have come to realize that captive maintenance and procreation of species at risk, both within the country of origin and outside of the country of origin, has become the quintessential answer for both short-term and long-term preservation goals. This has been successfully undertaken by aquariums and zoos; however, these facilities lack the necessary space and staff to come to the aid of all of the species in need of immediate help. It became apparent that this is a role in which we as hobbyists, with our combined total of thousands of tanks and shared experiences, can make a significant difference.
To their great misfortune, and ours, the reality is that if we are not to dedicate our tanks to these fishes now, and form the base stock of a reliable source of established at risk species within the aquarium hobby, many will become extinct as, sadly, have over 400 species of cichlids of Lake Victoria, with numerous species of Madagascar and Central America following (too) closely behind.
The C.A.R.E.S. goal is to distribute these species nationally, and globally, within our tanks to save them from extinction due to the destruction of their natural habitats. When they are gone from the wild, scientists will have our hobby stock as a resource for research, and we, and our successors, will have them to appreciate, as we would have those 400 species of Lake Victoria cichlids had we acted sooner. Those fishes are gone...never to be seen again but in photographs. If we act together, now, this reality will not come to those species that remain.
C.A.R.E.S. does not stop with our goal of preserving fishes within our tanks as we place global endeavors into arenas such as the Lake Victoria C.A.R.E.S. effort, funded through the American Cichlid Association, www.cichlid.org, continue to build on our C.A.R.E.S. for Education Program, encouraging conservation awareness from the grass roots in public school systems, and in spreading further awareness of the important role that all of us play as responsible aquarists. Encouragement, recognition, sharing, support, and working together as a team are the very heart of C.A.R.E.S.
A warm and heartfelt thank you to Juan Miguel Artigas Azas for his deep dedication to the preservation of conservation priority cichlids and the extraordinary work that he has done on his esteemed Cichlid Room Companion website to partner with the C.A.R.E.S. Preservation Program. What great fortune C.A.R.E.S. and our cichlids at risk have in Juan Miguel and the CRC!
C.A.R.E.S. is immensely grateful for the essential work of esteemed ichthyologist and champion of conservation, Dr. Paul V. Loiselle. Paul has played a primary part in C.A.R.E.S. since its inception and is our final authority on all revisions to the C.A.R.E.S. Conservation Priority Species at Risk List as our C.A.R.E.S. Preservation Program Technical Editor of Freshwater Fishes, as well as playing a vital role as consultant for the program.
A heartfelt thank you to all of you who have become an integral part of C.A.R.E.S., offering your exceptional talents, time, and contributions, implementing the program within your clubs and organizations, and to those of you who continue to spread the word. Each and every one of you has made this earth a better place for aquatic life, offering a chance of hope for a brighter future. The C.A.R.E.S. Preservation Program is about fish, and it is about people. We are one team, working together. Because of you, and through our continued united efforts, such as here on the Cichlid Room Companion website, we can and we are making a difference!
With Warm Wishes,
C.A.R.E.S. Preservation Program Coordinator