The photo of the fish thought to be extinct is on Wikimedia Commons!

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Mesopotamian barbel, Leopard barbel or Luciobarbus subquincunciatus in Latin, is a species of carp that lives in the Tigris-Euphrates river system in Türkiye, Syria, Iraq and Iran. This fish is on the IUCN Red List because it is thought to be extinct.

Mesopotamian barbel (KediÇobanı, CC BY-SA 4.0)

However, something quite interesting happened in November 2023. As a result of the search efforts carried out in cooperation with the General Directorate of Fisheries and Aquaculture and Şırnak Agriculture and Forestry Directorate, a fish was caught by a local fisherman. The caught fish was determined to be Mesopotamian barbel. Academics, who conducted research in the surrounding areas with the support of the fisherman, found the second fish of the same species on the same day. The fish were then released back into their natural habitat. Thus, the species was seen for the first time in 12 years.

Here is the exciting part for Wikimedians; These rare fish were photographed by a Wikimedian KediÇobanı and this photo was uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. Thus, photographs of two Mesopotamian barbels, which were thought to be extinct, took their place on Wikimedia Commons as a legacy left to the future, open to everyone under a free license.

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