Save the Arapaima and Redtail Catfish
Save the Arapaima and Redtail Catfish - Two iconic fish species of the Amazon on the verge of collapse
Please support our project and we will virtually take you along on our adventure! Check the rewards in the donation section to see how we will keep you up to date. Additionally, every donor will receive an invitation to our Instagram.
We (Maximiliaan Claus and Florian Kappen) are two Master students in Biology at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands. Within our study, we have been specializing in aquatic ecology and especially freshwater fish research. Our expertise is our passion and our life goal is the conservation of unique fish species. Thanks to our passion, we have managed to arrange a half-year graduation project for an NGO (Instituto Araguaia) in Brasil. Our research project targets the Arapaima, which is the largest scaled freshwater fish in the world and the Redtail Catfish, which is one of the largest catfish species in the Amazon. Both species are of great importance to the ecosystem, the economy and culture of South America. Due to human impact, numbers of both species are rapidly declining. Nowadays, the Arapaima depends on protected areas and conservation efforts for their survival and due to the lack of data, no information on the Redtail Catfish is available yet.
Our research area is Cantão State Park, one of the areas in Brasil where the Arapaima and Redtail Catfish are protected. Nonetheless, populations of both species are under severe pressure by poaching. The Arapaima is especially sensitive to this, as poaching causes entire broodstocks to be wiped out. Therefore, the main objective of our research project is to determine the effects of poaching on the Arapaima and Redtail Catfish. In addition, our project will provide valuable and crucial information on both species, as hardly any research has been performed on them at all! In Cantão State Park itself, no research on these species has ever been performed and therefore, the problems and impacts of poaching have never been addressed and no measures could be taken in order to properly protect the Arapaima and Redtail Catfish. This protection is essential for the preservation of these species and their habitat.
With our results, the NGO can imply new management strategies, which will allow the Arapaima and Redtail catfish populations in Cantão State Park to recover. By doing this, the entire ecosystem will be able to recover and become better protected. The results will also be used in order to educate the local people on the benefits of conservation and the negative impacts of poaching. Thanks to the recovery of the ecosystem and education, the local human communities will be able to focus themselves on alternative sources of income that will be beneficial in the long term, such as eco-tourism, sport fishing (catch and release) and nature research. Lastly, we hope to be able to write one of more scientific articles and create a video, which will enable us to share our findings on an international scale.
For this project we will need to hire a local ranger, who will guide us during our research. This ranger will provide us with knowledge on the area and its people. In addition, we are obligated to have him support us during fieldwork and ensure our safety. Therefore, the coöperation with this local ranger is of vital importance for this research, however the costs for this ranger have not been covered yet! To cover these costs, we will need your help! We have managed to finance our travel and accomodation costs from our personal savings, but unfortunately we are not able to meet the costs for this ranger. Therefore, your donation will contribute to covering these costs, and ultimately, the survival of two iconic species and their environment!
Bad news15/07/2019 | 22:17
Dear donors, As you may know, our research project should have started last month. Unfortunately however, the recent developments (new policies) that came with the new president, have caused us to cancel the project. The problem: Instituto Araguaia has had a good relationship with Cantão State Park for years now. Licenses for ecological research have never been a problem, which has changed this year. The new president, has replaced the person in charge of nature reserves for a “Police Colonel”. With this change, policies for nature reserves have changed and licenses for ecological research are not issued anymore. This measurement hits all NGO’s throughout Brazil. This way, the government is trying to push through developments that are not in favor of nature. For instance, plans are made to build dams in Araguaia River, something that will destroy alot of valuable nature! Instituto Araguaia is even accused of illegal tourism inside the park, something that is not true and in fact, concerned (legal) scientific research. In short, the government is doing everything to make the work for NGO’s focussed on ecology hard or even impossible. No alternatives: We have tried to find alternatives, like researching the area surrounding the park. However, due to (again) new policies, this is not allowed anymore unless you are in posession of a new type of license. This license is only given to professors, specializing in fisheries ecology. However, all professors which the institution has had contact with, are afraid of losing their job when co-operating in this project. Next year: The institution finds this research so important, that it will try to make it happen next year. Therefore we will be invited again next year, if they have found a solution for the described problem. However, we are not certain yet whether it will be possible. Additionally, this situation has a major impact on our personal lives and we do not know whether we are able work on this project next year. We are trying to find another internship for this year, in order to obtain our master’s degree. Your donation: Ofcourse we are now in posession of your donations, without any real plans. We are very thankful for your donation and support and shows that people all around the world care about nature in this part of the world! Our new internship will most likely not be in need of the money that has been donated, in the way that the initial project was in need of money. Therefore, we do not find this a good alternative for your money. However, as the project might be carried out next year, we will propose you with two options: We will save your donation and will use it in case the project will be carried out next year. If the project will not be carried out, it will be refunded before december 2020. We will refund your donation if that is preferred (let us know). In that case your donation will be refunded within 8 weeks. We hope you can understand our situation. We find these developments very unfortante, both for the fact that we cannot work on the project we have been preparing, as well as for the Brazilian nature and the NGO’s in Brazil that put alot of effort in protecting this nature. If there are any questions or inclarities, let us know. Kind regards, Maximiliaan Claus en Florian Kappen
Article Roofmeister.nl/ Message KWO/ WUR facebook post!07/05/2019 | 22:04
We are closing in on the end date of this crowdfunding, but are still in need of donations! That’s why we have been working hard on spreading our crowdfunding with the world. Luckily, the Dutch sports fishing community has been of great help! For instance, Karperwereld Online (KWO) has posted about us: https://karperwereld.nl/kwo-boulevard-een-bijzonder-amazone-project-en-de-allermooiste-karper-van-frankrijk/ Thereby, we published an article on Roofmeister.nl about our previous adventure, with the alligator gar! In this article, we also ask to visit our crowdfunding website: https://www.roofmeister.nl/de-alligator-gar-de-levende-dinosaurier/ Lastly, the Wageningen University facebook page posted our crowdfunding, for which we are very thankful! We reached out to a lot of people this way. We want to thank everyone who donated to our project! Hopefully we can get closer to our goal in the next month. Spread the word and help us reach our target, so we can provide these beautiful species with the protection they need and deserve!
The Arapaima (Arapaima gigas)
The Arapaima is the largest, scaled freshwater fish in the world. It can grow over three meters in length and weigh over 200kg! Only at a length of 1.5m and the age of 4 years(!), the Arapaima is able to spawn. Spawning takes place at the start of the rainy season. Prior to the rainy season, during the dry season, the animals start forming couples. During this period, the Arapaima move out of the flooded forests and into lakes and canals, which can cause congregations of multiple Arapaima in a single lake. In the same period, the male Arapaima develops a bright red colour, which can cover upto 75% of the body! Thanks to this colour, the Arapaima is also called the "Red Fish".
In order to survive the in the often oxygen poor lakes during the dry season, the Arapaima has developed a special feature, which is the ability to breathe air. Unfortunately this survival freature is also the species downfall, as this gulping makes it easy for poachers to detect them. After all, a giant fish that gives away its position is the perfect target for them! Because of this, the number of Arapaima is declining rapidly and in some regions, poaching has even led to extirpation of the species. Therefore, the Arapaima depends on protected areas and proper management for its survival. In areas where management is successfully implemented, the number of Arapaima are increasing and the entire ecosystem is recovering! This has provided the local communities with alternative sources of income, which can provide long term support for. A very good example of this can be found in Guyana.
The Redtail Catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus)
The Redtail Catfish may be the most colorful fish in the Amazonian waterways. As the name suggests, the species is characterized by its bright red tail fin. However, its white flanks and black and brown spotted top side also contribute to its unique and iconic appearance. The Redtail Catfish can reach a length of 1.5 meters and a weight of over 50kg! The species is often found near the bottom and under water structures such as sunken trees. The species is also a welcome catch for poachers, which is the main cause for its declining numbers. Though the Redtail Catfish is still more abundant and widespread compared to the Arapaima, no measures have been taken in order to prevent further decline of the species. The reason for this is that hardly any research has been performed on the Redtail Catfish, causing a major lack of information on the life cycle of the species. Because of this, it is of great importance to gather data on the species in order to create proper management strategies to protect the species.
Who are we?
We (Maximiliaan Claus & Florian Kappen) are two Master students in Biology at Wageningen University and Research (WUR) in the Netherlands. We have been specializing in aquatic ecology and especially freshwater fish species. Before we started on our Master degree, we graduated with a BSc in Applied Biology and Ecology at the University of Applied Sciences (HAS) in the Netherlands. Ever since we started on our study, we have been working on projects in and around all types of freshwater systems. These projects mainly included ecological consultancy and the monitoring of populations of rare and endangered species and their habitat. Our experience and expertise reaches further than just the Netherlands. During a previous internship we performed research on the Alligator Gar (Atractosteus spatula) in the state of Florida in the United States. This species (see media) shows very similar characteristics to the Arapaima: it reaches a similar size and is also capable of breathing air. For more information on our Alligator Gar research you can take a look at this article. During our internship in Florida, we also contributed to research on another giant fish species, the Gulf Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi). After completing this internship with an A and graduating for our BSc, we worked as a project employee at an ecological consultancy bureau. This also contributed to our experience and knowledge on fish research.
Our passion reaches beyond our study and in our spare time we are still doing all kinds of fish related activities: working at the aquarium departement of a pet store, keeping our own pond and of course sportfishing. Our passion has led to an unquenchable thirst for knowledge on everything beneath the water surface and the will to preserve and protect it, which also explains our direction of study. We first came into direct contact with all the beauty beneath the water surface through sportfishing. Our catches enable us to share our passion with the rest of the world and raise awareness for the hidden and sometimes underappreceated under water world. Some of our catches even made it to the national news, such as a 103kg Sturgeon Maximiliaan caught in Europe. Though giant fish like this are very special, we also appreciate the little species and love every facet of the aquatic environment.
This project on the Arapaima and Redtail Catfish means more to us than just a graduation project. For us, this project is the ultimate challenge within our expertise and we have been living towards it for a long time! We became fascinated by the Arapaima and Redtail Catfish at a young age and have dreamt of admiring this species in their natural surroundings ever since. With our research project we are not only able to live our youth dreams, but also make sure that this dream lives on and that everyone can admire these beautiful animals in the future!
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> Package 2 of €35,-:
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Thanks to your support, we are one step closer in preserving these unique animals!9 donors
Thank you very much for your donation!
Thanks to your support, we are one step closer in preserving these unique animals!10 donors
Enter the lottery
Thank you very much for your donation! 1) You will receive a card with one of our research pictures. 2) You will receive 1 entry in the lottery! (Please check "Lure give-away" for more information).9 donors
Invitation to the final presentation and a double shot in the lottery
Thank you very much for your donation! 1) You will receive a card with one of our research pictures. 2) You are invited to the final presentation of the project. 3) You will receive 2 entries in the lottery! (Please check "Lure give-away" for more information).9 donors
Adopt a Redtail Catfish and receive updates
Thank you very much for your donation! 1) You will adopt a Redtail Catfish, which will receive your name (or a name of your choice)! You will receive a picture of this fish as well! 2) You will receive a card with one of our research pictures. 3) You will receive updates on the progress of the project. 4) You will receive 3 entries in the lottery! (Please check "Lure give-away" for more information). 5) You are invited to the final presentation of the project.10 donors
Adopt an Arapaima and receive updates
Thank you very much for your donation! 1) You will adopt an Arapaima, which will receive your name (or a name of your choice)! You will receive a picture of this fish as well! 2) You will receive a card with one of our research pictures. 3) You will receive updates on the progress of the project. 4) You will receive 3 entries in the lottery! (Please check "Lure give-away" for more information). 5) You are invited to the final presentation of the project.
Personal Skype conversation and updates
Thank you very much for your donation! 1) You will receive updates on the progress of the project. 2) You will receive a card with one of our research pictures. 3) You can have a Skype conversation with us during the project. 4) You are invited to the final presentation of the project.2 donors
A canvas picture and your logo on the crowdfunding platform
Thank you very much for your donation! 1) Your (company)name and logo will be shared on the crowdfunding platform. 2) You will receive a research picture on canvas! (Optional). 3) You are invited to the final presentation of the project.1 donor
Special credit and a personal presentation
Thank you very much for your donation! 1) Your (company)name and logo will be mentioned in our video and research report. 2) Your (company)name and logo will be shared on the crowdfunding platform. 3) You will receive a research picture on canvas (Optional). 4) We will personally present the results of the project to you (only in the Netherlands), or you could visit the final presentation.1 donor
Exclusive credit and a personal presentation
Thank you very much for your donation! 1) Your (company)name and logo will be mentioned in our video, research report and on (social) media. 2) Your (company)name and logo will be shared on the crowdfunding platform. 3) You will receive a research picture on canvas! (Optional). 4) We will personally present the results of the project to you (only in the Netherlands), or you could visit the final presentation.1 donor
An everlasting memory!
Thank you very much for your donation! 1) We will hand you a photo album of the project (personally if in the Netherlands). 2) Your (company)name and logo will be mentioned in our video, research report and on (social) media. 3) Your (company)name and logo will be shared on the crowdfunding platform. 4) You will receive a research picture on canvas! (Optional). 5) We will personally present the results of the project to you (only in the Netherlands), or you could visit the final presentation.2 donors