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Endangered Colorado Pikeminnow Makes its Way to Draper and Beyond

The olive green, white-bellied Colorado pikeminnow is an endangered southwestern USA native species. To aid in conservation efforts, The Department of Wildlife Resources and Wahweap Fish Hatchery bred these pikeminnows under managed care, with the goal of relocating them to AZA-accredited institutions, including the Downtown Aquarium Denver, Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and Loveland Living Planet Aquarium.

We then assisted the DWR in finding other AZA-accredited institutions to take the remaining fish. We were able to find them a permanent home through an AZA network at 

On May 15th, the Living Planet’s husbandry staff members, Kortney Stevens and Jen Kemper, drove to the Wahweap Fish Hatchery in Southern Utah to pick up the minnows. Upon arrival, the minnows were placed in containers with high levels of oxygen and into temperature-regulated coolers. They were then put in a van to begin the trek to Draper. The team stopped every hour to check on the fish. 

Because the minnows were larger than expected, travel to the two other institutions was urgent to ensure their safety and comfort. So they were transported via plane, which was the quickest option. All fish arrived safely to their destinations with no complications. 

When they arrived at our facility, they were placed into quarantine for 30 days before going on habitat and cared for by our Aquarists, Sean Evans and Sarah Francis. 

As for breeding plans, Anthony Siegle, Curator of Freshwater and Quarantine said, “While Loveland Living Planet Aquarium has the capability and expertise to breed our pikeminnow fish, there are currently no plans to do so. Should that change, it will be under the direction of the Department of Natural Resources and US Fish and Wildlife Service.”

Guests can visit this incredible species—which has a lifespan of 30-40 years—in the Discover Utah gallery for many years to come. 

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