In Japan, an endangered eel was hiding in plain sight

In a surprising discovery, researchers have found a population of Japanese eels thriving in Osaka’s Dotonbori River, despite the urban environment and polluted waters. The revelation came after a joint effort by the Study Institute of Environment, Agriculture, and Fisheries in Osaka Prefecture and the Mainichi Broadcasting System TV, which captured 11 live eels in the river last year.

Japanese eels, known as Anguilla japonica, are facing a decline in numbers due to habitat destruction, pollution, and overfishing. However, the presence of these eels in the Dotonbori River highlights their resilience and adaptability to urban environments.

Yoshihiko Yamamoto, the lead researcher, hopes that this discovery will raise public awareness about biodiversity and conservation efforts. Despite their endangered status, Japanese eels play a crucial role in maintaining ecosystem balance.

The Dotonbori River, located in the heart of Osaka’s bustling downtown area, is not known for its cleanliness. However, the eels found in its waters provide a glimpse into the hidden wildlife thriving in urban rivers.

The discovery underscores the importance of protecting and restoring urban waterways to support declining species. Measures such as fish ladders and artificial habitats can help ensure the survival of species like the Japanese eel in urban environments.

While the future of Japanese eels remains uncertain, their presence in the Dotonbori River serves as a reminder of the resilience of nature and the importance of conservation efforts to protect endangered species

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