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Paris exhibition celebrates 10-year project to save the Critically Endangered Joba Mena fish in Madagascar

Posted on: 24 November, 2023

An exhibition focusing on the efforts of UK scientists to save a Critically Endangered species of fish in Madagascar, has opened in Paris.

The 10-year Fish Net Madagascar project was a major international investigation which set out to find the Joba Mena freshwater fish.

It was led by Bristol Zoological Society’s Director of Conservation and Science, Brian Zimmerman, during his time as Curator of London Zoo Aquarium.

The project began in November 2012 and saw Brian and a team of experts travel to Madagascar for a three-week expedition where they surveyed seven rivers for a female Joba Mena fish, with the sole purpose of seeing if the species still survived in the wild. The precarious situation in Madagascar resulted in the team deciding to build up a back-up population that could potentially save the critically endangered species.

Now, their story is being told in an immersive year-long exhibition at the Aquarium Tropical in the Museum Porte Doree in Paris. Taking the form of an adventure comic book, the educational tour retraces the team’s footsteps and looks at all that they achieved.

Brian Zimmerman said: “It is wonderful to see this project transformed into such an engaging exhibition which will be enjoyed by so many people.

“Many species in Madagascar, in particular in freshwater, are threatened with extinction. Events such as this help to raise awareness of the many threats they face, such as pollution, overexploitation, habitat loss and the introduction of invasive species.

“The exhibition also focusses on freshwater fish conservation more widely and the vital role zoos and aquariums play in conservation.”

You can read more about the exhibition here.

Bristol Zoo Project is part of Bristol Zoological Society, a conservation and education charity working on projects around the world with the aim of Saving Wildlife Together.

Exhibition photos by Cyril Zannettacci.