Thursday, 1 August 2013

We're running WILD!

They say safety in numbers is useful when in the wild. How about if you were bred in captivity and then released into the wild? I'm rather sure that safety in numbers would still be applicable.

However I'm more interested in the development of spatial awareness.

A study was carried out with 1 year old salmon fish. They were raised in either a plain tank or a tank filled with all the things that fun-loving fish enjoy, like pebbles, weeds and other plants (this is the 'enriched' environment). The salmon who grew up in the 'enriched' environment had a better ability to navigate themselves out of a maze compared to the salmon who were raised in the empty tank.

This study links into previous studies of mammals who were born into captivity and it shows that by having stimulation in their immediate environment apparently has increased their chance of survival when released into the wild! Although this was initially discovered in mammals, this has been a fishy first!.

The nitty-gritty science results of the study was that the fish in the 'enriched' environment exhibited changes in the mRNA in their brains, which is linked to spatial awareness.

This can provide a crucial turning point for the conservation of fish, allowing their environment to be tailored to increase their chance at surviving in the wilderness.

So if you happen to find an egg or a small animal that you want to hand rear, be sure to create a stimulating environment for it to grow up in; so that when it is released into the wild, it will be able to fend for itself like a real life wild thing.

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