‘Red Booker’ or Ghost from the World of the Relict Endemics

     This story is worth your attention that took place one of these days in the Bukhara City. The Big canal known to any Bukhara boy flows just behind the fence of ‘Yoshlik’ sport complex.
    Just front the ‘Yoshlik’ floodgates divide the canal into three small arms sending usually troubled waters to different districts of the city. Whirlpools before floodgates are the favorite fishing place of the boys and old men living not far off. In hot summer swimmers are succeeding each other till late evening, occupying this place practically all day long and lovers of fishing have to get up early in the morning to enjoy two hours of silence and quiet fishing. But as soon as autumn comes, water and air get cool, the lovers of swimming disappear. Now any one can devote himself to the favorite hobby even for the twenty-four hours; nobody except curious passers-by interfere.
    Of course, now fish bites are not so frequent as at the times when I was a boy and fished there with a rod made of a mulberry twig. But almost every evening somebody catches a little sheat-fish.
    That day 10 September I went to the city on business. Suddenly my father called me up to my mobile telephone and asked if I would come to see him. I answered that I planned to visit him but later on. He excitedly told me that real wonder fell down from the moon and that I would understand everything myself when I see it. For long my father does not believe in wonders. Therefore being intrigued I quickly set off to his place. He showed me the photo taken by a mobile telephone two hours ago. I could not believe my eyes – there was a real Amu Darya Sturgeon !
    Amu Darya Sturgeon  (shovelnose)/ Pseudoscaphirhynchus Kaufmanni/ or Scaphirhynchus as my father names it, is the fish of the Acipenseridae family. This fish was entered in the Red List of the USSR long ago.
    Before, it was mainly found in the troubled waters of the Amudarya River. But, as far as I know, it has not been noticed in this big river for a long time.
    And now here it is! Two thousand kilometers from the Amudarya, practically in the center of Bukhara caught with an ordinary worm… I was shocked.
    The individual was two-three years old; they do not reach big size, weighing up to 2.5kg. But I want to say another thing.
    First, if this sturgeon fry was born and grew up several years ago, it means that at minimum two adult Red Booker individuals are swimming somewhere and could even meet.
    Second, if you look at the Google Earth you see that this courageous kiddy made incredible, long and dangerous way from the Amudarya River along the Amu-Bukhara Canal to the canal in Bukhara, through tens of floodgates, past by hundreds of pumping stations , a great number of poacher’s fish-nets, hungry beasts  and other dangers… And all these for the death in a bottle, being fished by a foolish boy, who thought it was a little sheat-fish. He stood, hanging his head while his father reprimanded at him because he had not set free the rare fish back into water.
    Alas, it was impossible to resurrect it.
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