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Syr Darya Shovelnose Sturgeon

scientific name: Pseudoscaphirhynchus fedtschenkoi

Last seen: 1960s in Kazakhstan

Years lost: About 58

expedition team members include: Bernie Kuhajda


At a glance:

The striking Syr Darya Shovelnose Sturgeon is endemic to the Syr Darya River, and once found in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It is among the smallest sturgeon species in the world, growing only up to about one foot long. It was also once found in the Aral Sea, but according to NASA, the Aral Sea shrunk by more than 60 percent between 1973 and 2000. The Aral Sea is now hypersaline and as a result, doesn’t contain any fish, aside from in a small reservoir. The river has also experienced large levels of water extraction, damming and agricultural pollution. The Syr Darya Shovelnose Sturgeon has been listed in the Red Data Book of Kazakhstan since 1978 and has also been featured on stamps.