On the weekend of the 16th and 17th June, ichthyologist Professor Paul Skelton joined the Wilderness Safaris conservation team, as well as guides from Savuti and DumaTau, for an informative weekend of fishing on the Savute and Linyanti Channels. Catch-and-release fishing was conducted by boat as well splashing about in the shallows with hand nets. Whilst the anglers were mostly disappointed, some 12 species of fish were caught in the nets.
The catch of the day went to conservation biologist, Kylie McQualter, who caught a Cuando dwarf stonebasher (Pollimyrus cuandoensis), a species only recently described in 2013. The stonebasher belongs to a family of fish known to communicate by means of weak electric pulses, with each species having its own unique electrical discharge.
Paul was in Maun presenting his newly released book Fishes of the Okavango Delta & Chobe River, Botswana and sharing his knowledge with local guides and fishermen. Paul also highlighted his work with the Okavango Wilderness Project, hitting home the message of how important it is to conserve the head waters of the Okavango in Angola while creating sustainable tourism opportunities in the region.
Many thanks to Prof. Paul for the knowledge shared – we look forward to learning more and working together on future conservation projects.
The Cuando dwarf stonebasher, an endemic to Kwando/Linyanti system, communicates with a five-phase electrical discharge of very short duration
Prof. Paul Skelton describing the finer details of fish identification to sustainability coordinator Baz Sandenbergh and guide trainer Ona Lekgopho
Prof. Paul Skelton presenting a talk on fishes of the Okavango and Chobe Rivers in the Linyanti concession.
Written by Robert Taylor, Wilderness Safaris Conservation Ecologist
Photographs by Kai Collins
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