It makes me very happy to report to you on a complete revamp of my dearest fish conservation program. This year has seen a refreshing view of one of the most popular conservation programs for aquarists available, the C.A.R.E.S. program envisioned and created by the charismatic Claudia Dickinson, who with the support of a large group of experts in all fish families sheltered under the program has brought new strength to fish conservation for everyone interested to participate, giving us a promise of a brighter future for many fish species. With ups and downs over the years, this year the C.A.R.E.S. program has come back stronger and with a farther reach than ever before.
The C.A.R.E.S. (Conservation, Awareness, Recognition and Responsibility, Encouragement and Education, and Support and Sharing) program was founded in 2004 with the purpose to create a base stock of conservation priority species through encouraging hobbyists worldwide to devote tank space to one or more species at risk and distribute offspring to fellow qualified hobbyists, while forming an information network where possible between aquarists, scientists, and conservationists.
Given the growing human population, industrialization and very fast deteriorating of fish habitats all around the world, nothing is more needed than immediate action towards education about and conservation of fish species, if at the moment not possible in their natural habitats, at least in the domain of our own fish rooms, something which can make a significant difference for many species. It may not be a permanent solution, but certainly it may grant many fish species otherwise doomed its permanence on this earth, for the enjoyment of all.
The C.A.R.E.S. program among other things has recently surprised us with a new state-of-the-art homepage (caresforfish.org) where you can find among many interesting documents (too long to enumerate here) an extensive but concise explanation of the program, its goals, the programs it comprises, and most important, an up to date list of species under the protection of the program, the so called C.A.R.E.S. priority list, which is segmented in the 20 fish families currently included in the program. For each one of those families the list of species of major concern for conservation is given. The species are chosen by the risk they are facing, but also by their availability and suitability for a conservation effort for an aquarist or institution. In the case of Cichlids, 260 species are listed in the priority list, each one with a risk classification, assessment date and the authority who recommended that species for the program.
The C.A.R.E.S. program also helps those interested to obtain the species listed from among those that currently keep them. It further helps in the positive identification of the species for persons who currently keep them and grants confidentiality to those that keeping the species prefer to maintain their anonymity.
As one of its new deliveries, a new “C.A.R.E.S. exchange” bulletin with the current news of the program started to appear this year. The bulletin, for which two issues have already been published, includes a list of species available for distribution by breeders at very reasonable prices. All of the species offered are verified and certified by C.A.R.E.S. specialists, so pure breeds are guaranteed. Also in C.A.R.E.S. exchange news of the program and articles of interest for conservation are included, with information about the current status of many species in their natural habitats, often firsthand information, which make it very valuable. The bulletin is available to download for anyone interested at the C.A.R.E.S homepage. (under A warm welcome select C.A.R.E.S Exchange.
C.A.R.E.S. encourages the preservation by aquarium keeping of the species in its priority list by offering “Certificates of Recognition” for each species registered and accepted into CARES within that year. It also awards a “CARES Member of the Year Award” for a person who excels in outstanding overall contributions to ensure a positive future for conservation priority fishes, openly shares knowledge with others, and altruistically assists fellow hobbyists in their C.A.R.E.S. endeavors.
So, if you are concerned about the conservation of your favorite fish species waste no time and get in contact with the program specialist, which will be very happy to help you get involved or direct you to the closest clubs and organizations participating in the program.
Nature desperately needs those among us that love it and want to make a difference for future generations to come!
© Copyright 2017 Juan Miguel Artigas Azas, all rights reserved
Artigas Azas, Juan Miguel. (April 21, 2017). "C.A.R.E.S. program revamped!". Cichlid Room Companion. Retrieved on March 20, 2018, from: https://www.cichlidae.com/section.php?id=295.