Extravaganza 2015: Heiko Bleher

Details on this year’s Extravaganza

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Extravaganza 2015: Heiko Bleher

Post by LewC » Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:25 am

Heiko Bleher

During the final months of World War II, Heiko Bleher was born in a bunker in Frankfurt am Main, a city that had been, by then, severely bombed by the Allies. By the time he was about five, he began accompanying his mother, as she traveled around Europe, and then Africa, in search of aquatic plants for her father’s ornamental fish and plant farm. At age seven, Heiko accompanied her into the largely unexplored rain forests of South America, and they lived among the native people, learning their ways and absorbing their knowledge of the land and its wildlife.

They moved to Brazil in 1959, and opened a fish and plant nursery near Rio de Janeiro. After studying ichthyology at the University of South Florida for 2 years in the early 1960s, he moved back to Brazil to open his own business, Aquarium Rio. He acquired livestock by making collecting trips into the interior. The business was moved to Germany in 1967, but Heiko continued to take frequent collecting trips to Brazil and other South and Central American locations.

During the 1970s, he started expanding his explorations to include Africa, Asia, Australia and many Pacific islands. By the early 1980s, he was giving lectures worldwide, making TV appearances, publishing books and making documentaries. He résumé, by 2011, included visiting 875 habitats in 176 countries, and the discovery, or rediscovery, of over 7000 species of freshwater fish. He has received many awards and honors, from both scientific and hobby organizations. His wilderness expeditions continue; he is heading to Ecuador immediately after the Extravaganza.

Heiko currently lives near Milan, Italy. His travels and discoveries are well documented on his fascinating website, Aquapress-Bleher.com .

Heiko will give an extended talk entitled “Discus and Angelfish in Nature”, beginning at 8:30 PM Friday. “The Cichlidae of India and the Middle East” is the title of his 10:30 AM Saturday presentation.

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