Caridina dennerli is officially listed as "Possibly Extinct in the Wild" on the IUCN Red List. I was shocked to read this information and even more so after combining it with data about other endemic freshwater species and biotopes of Sulawesi: records of invasive species here and there; disturbing testimonials from aquarists who recently travelled to Sulawesi; and the mere fact that you cannot find as many aquatic species imported from Sulawesi to Europe compared to the variety offered 10 years ago. Did you notice that too?
So what is happening on this magical island? And should you care?
I am an aquarist and I care about these critters. I fell in love with Tylomelania snails and Mugilogobius fish in 2008, and never stopped thinking I could have more Sulawesi tanks… when I have more space and time… you know, the usual aquarist dreams.
I don’t want to wake up one day to find that some species are “no longer available”. Extinct, to be precise; forgotten and left behind by people who claim to love them – shrimp keepers, fish keepers, snail lovers, us. And although Caridina dennerli might still be present in Lake Matano, many species are literally disappearing and some of them are probably already lost. I know you hear calls to protect nature all day long, but this is a special call. Fish and aquatic invertebrates won’t attract many of people, but hey, there are plenty of aquarists around the world, and the matter is ours.
In April 2021, I started contacting people who could tell me more about biotopes and species of Sulawesi. From the beginning, my goal was to connect aquarists, scientists, conservation organisations, and local communities in an effort to prevent extinction. This goal was adopted and supported by all the people I approached, and we won’t let down our dream island. We have legally founded the Sulawesi Keepers organisation, started building partnerships and looking for opportunities to raise awareness and make an impact in Indonesia.
Now is the time to invite you to join us. Find out what the threats to Sulawesi biotopes are, how we can help endangered species, who we are and how you can become one of us. We are Sulawesi Keepers, and the English word keeper has several meanings according to the Cambridge Dictionary:
- a person who takes care of animals or is in charge of valuable objects
- someone with good qualities, who you can have a long relationship with
- something good that is likely to be successful or useful for a long time
Well, we’ll do our best to live up to it. Will you join us?
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Founder and President of Sulawesi Keepers