“When I started the environmental education program, I thought I was going to fall on deaf ears…and that was the beginning,” Dominguez said.
But conservationists won out in the end, thanks to plenty of patience and years of puppet art, games, and explanations about the importance of Zoogoneticus tequila FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH – Fish help control mosquitoes that spread dengue fever.
A number of residents have coined the nickname “Zoogy” for the small fish. They made funny cartoons of her and founded the “River Keepers”, a group mainly made up of children who collect dirt, clean the river, and remove invasive plants.
Domínguez said it is difficult to determine if the river’s water quality has improved because there is no previous data to compare with, but the entire ecosystem has improved. The river is cleaner, there are fewer non-native species and livestock are no longer allowed to drink from the river in certain areas.
The fish quickly spawned in their floating cages and in late 2017 they were tagged for tracking and release. Six months later, the population had increased by 55 percent and last month the gallito had spread to another part of the river.
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