Endangered Golden mahseer Tor putitora Hamilton: A review of natural history
Bhatt, J.P. and Pandit, M.K.
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries
Golden mahseer, Tor putitora Hamilton, one of the largest freshwater fish of the Indian subcontinent, inhabits mainly Himalayan rivers in the foothills. Among numerous freshwater fishes of the sub-continent, Golden mahseer is the most striking due to its large size, attractive golden colour, sustenance and sporting values. Tor putitora is known by various common names such as king mahseer, mighty mahseer and the tiger of water. Being a migratory fish, Golden mahseer undertakes periodic upstream migration during pre-monsoon and monsoon seasons from large rivers and higher order streams in the foothills to lower order streams for spawning. In recent years, conservationists, anglers and commercial fishermen have expressed concern over the declining populations of Golden mahseer due to indiscriminate fishing of brooders and juveniles besides the adverse effects of dams. Despite its ecological and economic importance, specific conservation measures by way of protective legal provisos are lacking for Golden mahseer in India. In view of its physical features, ecology and vulnerable conservation status, there is an exigent need to promote the Golden mahseer as a flagship conservation species of the Himalayan rivers. In view of the recent reports of unprecedented river regulation projects on the Himalayan rivers and need to draw global attention of conservationists, we review various aspects of ecology, life history, interesting features, traits and threats associated with the reduced chances of survival of Golden mahseer.
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