Three decades after the Missouri Department of Conservation took measures to protect the lake sturgeon, state officials have confirmed that the endangered fish are once again reproducing in the wild.
The prehistoric species of fish more than 150 million years old outlived the dinosaurs, but was brought to the brink of extinction within the past 50 years. In the 1970s, Missouri looked to protect the species and soon started a program to release farm-raised lake sturgeon into the wild. In late April, the department was able to confirm that the species is again reproducing in the wild thanks to a cell phone video taken by an angler near St. Louis.
“We’ve been getting some reports of what sounds like lake sturgeon spawning in several places, but this is the first time we’ve been able to confirm that’s what actually happening there,” said Travis Moore, a fisheries management biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The video is the first confirmation that lake sturgeon are spawning in Missouri for the first time in at least a century, Moore said.