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The Toronto Zoo is proud to announce that the critically endangered Ptychochromis (tie-ko-chrome-us) insolitus (P. insolitus) have successfully been bred for the first time in Canada.

In September of 2014, Tim McCaskie, Toronto Zoo Wildlife Care Keeper, returned from another successful field season in Madagascar working with Malagasy partners on an important fisheries conservation project to establish sustainable populations of endangered fish in the wild. On McCaskie’s fourth field session to study freshwater fishes as a joint venture between Malagasy partners, Zoological Society of London and Dr. Paul Loiselle, Emeritus Curator of Freshwater Fishes, New York Aquarium, the extremely rare P. insolitus a small perch-like fish was confirmed by McCaskie to be breeding in a protected Madagascar conservation facility.

A small number of P. insolitus, along with five other rare Madagascar fishes, were brought to Toronto Zoo in September of 2014 from a conservation aquaculture facility in Madagascar. This facility is a pilot project supported by Toronto, London and Dr. Loiselle of New York Aquarium. The Toronto Zoo is the only accredited facility internationally to have a living population of this species. Now, the Toronto Zoo is proud to announce that the critically endangered P. insolitus have successfully been bred for the first time in Canada.

Eggs of the P. insolitus were observed as having been laid on Saturday, August 13, 2016, and just a short 48 hours later on Monday, August 15, 2016 hatchlings were confirmed by Curatorial Keeper, Fishes & Marine Invertebrates, Brian Telford, Toronto Zoo. The P. insolitus hatchlings spent their first week safely secured or ‘stuck’ to the bottom of the tank among gravel, which is what happens in the wild for protection against predators. The hatchlings, now over a month old, are healthy and thriving in their very own nursery that is currently in quarantine and closely monitored by Zoo staff.

“International partnerships will make a difference as biologists attempt to conserve habitats and the species that rely upon them,” says C. Lee, Curator of Fishes & Marine Invertebrates, Toronto Zoo.  “Our work in Madagascar is critical as watersheds face challenges very similar to those in North America. Sharing resources, expertise, and a keen understanding of the urgency motivate all of us to participate.”


The Toronto Zoo has been part of a conservation program for Madagascar fishes since 2004.  Field work and Toronto Zoo’s international partnerships are making a significant contribution to fisheries conservation.

Please note the fish nursery is currently in quarantine and cannot be viewed by media or the public.  


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Toronto Zoo Media Contacts:

Katie Gray, Supervisor of Public Relations and Events or #416-392-5941

Amanda Chambers, Public Relations and Events Associate or #416-392-5974

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