Of all the species that deserve to protected by all the Endangered Species Acts of the world, the Coelacanth is definitely high on the list. While the so-called “Center for Biological Diversity” is busy litigating to get stony coral species listed as threatened or endangered, including Acropora lokani who’s population is estimated to be around 19 million colonies, real iconic and priceless species like the Coelacanth are facing serious threats in their native habitats.
Meanwhile, the fish that has captivated scientists and the wider world for almost a century is going to be facing some serious threats to its livelihood in the coming decades. So far the Coelacanth is only known from very few places, with one species Latimeria chalumnae occurring in South Africa and Tanzania and another species, Latimeria menadoensis known only from Indonesia.
The “original” Coelacanth is already listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN red list of endangered species but that isn’t stopping a new port from being built in Tanzania, right on top of known Coelacanth habitat, and inside a “Marine Park” which bears the iconic fish’s namesake, Tanga Coelacanth Marine Park. The construction of the new port in Tanzania might be slightly less destructive than if they actually dropped depth charges right on top of the coelacanth on purpose.
It’s tough to say that any species is anymore or less precious than others, but we think many people will agree that our world would be a less magical place if we ever lost that funky fish with the large muscular lobbed fins known as the Coelacanth. [Scientific American]