The Parosphromenus Project (PP) is a non-commercial project working to create awareness, research and conservation actions for the genus of Parosphromenus native to Malaysia and Indonesia.
The PP originated as a network of private aquarists, but has expanded to include co-operations worldwide with zoologists, biologists, students doing research, locals working with conservation as well as cooperation with museums and zoos in Europe.
What We Do
The aim and mission of the PP is to create strong alliances between different actors – private aquarists, biologists and scientists, museums and zoos in a joint effort to put focus on and help the conservation of the threatened genus of fish – Parosphromenus – which is unknown to most people.
The PP works include:
• Gathering information about and documentation of the threatened status of the Parosphromenus species in Malaysia and Indonesia
• Aquarist networking and ex-situ breeding of the species
• Inform about the keeping and breeding of Parosphromenus species in private aquarium hobby
• Half yearly census for breeders
• Co-operations with zoos and museums
• Maintain ex-situ insurance populations for IUCN (in cooperation with Chester Zoo)
• Cooperate with locals, scientists, biologists, to monitor and map the species, with regard to original habitat, the distribution of species as well as genetic variance and evolution
Where We Work
There are 20 described, a number of variations and undescribed species of Parosphromenus endemic to peat swamp areas of Malaysia and Indonesia.
Some species are distributed over relatively large areas, while some can be found in distribution areas as small as a football field.
Most of the species are confined to small areas with increasing human activity and habitat destruction. Lowland forests are converted into oil palm plantations
on a large scale and for example P. deissneri, which is endemic to the island of Bangka, is only left in a few habitats due to mining. This is the main factor, which makes the genus Parosphromenus particularly vulnerable.
There are no special protected areas which has as its focus to protect Parosphromenus. There are wildlife nature parks, under protections, but it is by chance if this affect any species of Parosphromenus. Often the main focus of the conservation work are other animals, or fish such as wild bettas.
The Parosphromenus Project aims to become involved with the local conservation and protection work in the habitats involved, and has in the last years worked with biologists, students, conservationists hoping to establish a focused strategy to – first of all describe and map the species, and develop strategies for protection in the habitat, and to develop conservation strategies for species which are at immediate risk by maintaining populations in captivity.
We therefore try to monitor populations closely in captivity by having a twice-yearly census.
Our work is also focusing on network and involvement of institutions all over the world which has an important role in conservation work. This has brought us into contact with zoos in Europe, in particularly a strong contact with Chester Zoo in UK, - where we at the moment are involved in creating ‘Husbandry guidelines’ for EAZA, and lately are supporting the work of Chester Zoo for IUCN in maintaining insurance populations for P. alfredi and P. tweediei.