Day 84 of #the100dayproject and my #realandendangered project. Today, I want to look at the Kaluga (also known as 'River Beluga', which is a type of Sturgeon that occurs in both China and Russia (specifically, they inhabit the entire Amur River basin from the estuary to the river’s upper reaches). Here are five more facts to note: 1. They have gray-green to black backs with yellowish green-white bellies. 2. They are semi-anadromous (anadromous fish spend at least part of their life in salt water and return to rivers to breed). 3. They are one of the world's largest freshwater fishes (they can grow up to 18.5 feet (5.5 m) and weigh up to 2,200 pounds (1,000 kg)). 4. They do not spawn annually; instead they spawn periodically (around 4-5 years in females and 3-4 years in males). 5. They have five major rows of dermal scutes, or nail-like teeth in its jaw.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature currently lists them as "Critically Endangered." It's estimated that between the 19th century to 1992, the species experienced a population decline of more than 80%, which has continued to decrease. As you can imagine, over-fishing (both legal and poaching) are their main threats, along with pollution in the Amur River basin. The Soviet Union prohibited commercial sturgeon fishing between 1923-1930, 1958-1976 and from 1984 to the present. Currently, conservation efforts include their listing on the Appendix II of CITES (which regulates international trade) in 1998 and both China and Russia are working on stocking programs to save the species. #enmlillustration #thesadhappy #digitalart