weather icon Clear

Threatened Devils Hole pupfish are making a comeback

Biologists say populations for one of the world’s rarest fish are increasing.

Scientists recently counted 175 Devils Hole pupfish — the most they’ve observed in a spring count in 22 years. They’ve been tracking populations of the rare Devils Hole pupfish, which live in the upper 80 feet of a deep water-filled cavern and sun-lit shallow pool in Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge just west of Pahrump, for 50 years.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nevada Department of Wildlife and National Park Service have been managing this critically endangered species to ensure their survival.

Scientists typically perform deep dives to count fish in the cavern, starting at depths below 100 feet. Others handcount visible fish near the surface to keep track of populations.

Before the 1990s, the pupfish population was around 200, according to scientists, who noted declines of the fish in the past two decades when only about 90 remained each spring.

Nine years ago, fish populations hit an all-time low when only 35 pupfish were counted.

The rebound of the bright blue fish could signal important changes in the ecosystem, according to Kevin Wilson, aquatic ecologist for Death Valley National Park, who manages resources of Devils Hole.

“Such shifts highlight the importance of maintaining long-term data as we work to find out what’s changed,” he said in a release from park officials.

Scientists noted the fish appeared in remarkable condition and were very active.

“It’s exciting to see this shift, because if persistent, it allows more opportunity for study and to explore new management options,” said Michael Schwemm, senior fish biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a release from park officials.

The next pupfish count occurs next fall.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
What to know about this year’s Lincoln Day Dinner

This February, members of the Grand Ol’ Party will come together for an evening of conservative-likemindedness during the 2023 Lincoln Day Dinner in Pahrump.

Human-trafficking: ‘The problem is very real’

And it’s often committed by people the victim is already familiar with or those they have met and become friendly with online, say those who see the impacts of human trafficking.

NDOT to invest $49.5 million in Nye County

Here’s a look at the state transportation department’s plans for roads and other infrastructure in 2023.

Couple found dead from apparent murder-suicide in Death Valley park

An elderly husband allegedly shot and killed his elderly wife who was suffering from severe health problems before turning the gun on himself at Death Valley National Park in an apparent act of murder-suicide, according to a park officials.

Lombardo raises nearly $2M after winning election

Many companies that donated only to former Gov. Steve Sisolak suddenly opened their checkbooks once Joe Lombardo won the governor’s race in November.

Pahrump breeder plans to convert garage for 30-dog kennel

A local breeder plans to convert an Oakridge Avenue garage into a dog kennel that could house as many as 30 German Shepherds at any given time.

PARTY AT THE FARM: 3rd Annual “Fun”draiser set for Nature Health Farms

Alex D’Jon purchased land to establish a rural venture in Pahrump in 2019 and area residents will be able to check out all Nature Health Farms has to offer this Saturday during the 3rd Annual Nature Health Farms “Fun”draiser.