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Catfish endangering native aquatic species of Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

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    4th Jun, 2021


The rampant spread of catfish, known locally as African Mushi, in the waterbodies of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) is posing danger to the native aquatic species of the sanctuary.

  • It is already facing threat from the wild growth of alien species of plants, including Senna spectabilis.

About the Catfish

  • It is locally known as African Mushi.
  • The African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) is a carnivorous species.
  • The African catfish was introduced all over the world in the early 1980s for aquaculture.
  • It was introduced in India without official sanction.
  • Catfishare a diverse group of ray-finned fish.
  • It is native to Africa and the Middle East.
  • It inhabits freshwater lakes, rivers, swamps, and urban sewage systems.
  • It is a voracious predator which feeds on living and dead animal matter, including fish and invertebrates, and is known to attack small birds.
  • Its ability to survive in shallow mud for long periods of time, high tolerance for poorly oxygenated water, and fast breeding give it an edge over other native species.
  • catfish range in size and behavior
  • Mekong giant catfish from Southeast Asia (
  • wels catfish of Eurasia
  • piraíba of South America
  • detritivores (species that eat dead material on the bottom)
  • parasitic species commonly called the candiru, Vandellia cirrhosa.
  • During heavy floods, invasive alien fish which were illegally farmed in fragile systems, including domestic aquarium tanks, ponds, lakes and abandoned quarries, escaped from captivity and entered nearby wetlands.

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS)

  • It is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, Kerala.
  • It was established in 1973.

    • Other wildlife parks within the Nilgiri Reserve are: Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Bandipur National Park, Nagarhole National Park, Mukurthi National Park and Silent Valley.
  • Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is contiguous to the tiger reserves of Nagerhole and Bandipur of Karnataka and Mudumalai of Tamil Nadu.
  • Kabini river (a tributary of Cauvery river) flows through the sanctuary.
  • Elephant, Gaur, Tiger, Panther,Sambar, Spotted deer, Barking deer, Wild boar, Sloth bear, Nilgiri langur, Bonnet macaque, Common langur, Wild dog, common otter, Malabar giant squirrel etc are the major animals.