Gila Trout (Oncorhynchus gilae) - Wiki
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[Photo] Gila Trout (Oncorhynchus gilae). USFWS photo.
The gila trout (Oncorhynchus gilae gilae) is similar to a Cutthroat trout and a native to the Southwest United States, in Arizona and New Mexico. It is an endangered species. The Gila trout has been threatened by competition and hybridization with introduced game fish (such as the rainbow trout). However, the primary cause of reduced Gila trout populations is habitat loss caused by loss of water flow and shade-giving trees, caused in turn by fires, human destruction of riparian vegetation, livestock overgrazing, agricultural irrigation and water diversion, and channelization of streams in the Gila trout's native range.
By the time the Gila trout was listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1967 its range had reduced from several hundred miles of stream to just 20 in the Gila Wilderness and Aldo Leopold Wilderness. After listing USFWS began an aggressive program of stream restoration, removing the introduced trout, restoring and repairing riparian vegetation (to maintain cooler water temperatures), and restocking restored streams with young Gila trout. The species is now more secure than it was in the 1970s, having been moved to 10 new streams, though populations and habitat are still far below those originally established. Conservationists hope to eventually delist the species and allow fishing, thus forming alliances with fishermen in order to help preserve the species.
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