Hip-deep in mud

International Children’s Conference on Biodiversity (ICCB) 3

Emily Keal

© Karen Eng

Delegates literally waded into action at nearby Kanshiro pond. Here, the children learned, the endangered Japanese bitterling fish are threatened by invasive species, including the large-mouth bass and the American bullfrog, both from North America.

‘When I saw the pond, I thought, ‘I don’t want to get dirty!’ said Nadhirah Mohar, 13, from Malaysia. ‘But it was choked with mud and needed to be drained and cleaned, so we were given nets and buckets in order to save fish and other animals.’

As farmers drained the pond, the delegates, joined by 150 Japanese schoolchildren, waded into the water to catch bass, carp, bitterling, giant bullfrogs, turtles, mussels and more, sorting the creatures in buckets for identification. The useful and native species would be put back after the pond was cleaned and refilled, and the alien species removed.

‘I feel bad that the large-mouth bass were left in a tank without any water to die,’ said Nadhirah. But Phuong Nguyen Hoang, 13, from Viet Nam, was impressed. ‘Pond dredging was very hard work. But I learned that our actions have a direct effect on biodiversity.’

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This post is also available in: French, Spanish