Gila trout Oncorhynchus gilae gilae
ESA status: threatened
The Gila trout is endemic to five streams in the upper Gila River system. It is one of only two trout native to Arizona (the other is the Apache trout). Currently, there are only 14 populations of Gila trout in the wild. These rare fish are found in small mountain streams at an elevation of approximately 1,524 to 3,048 m (5,000 to 10,000 ft). The trout feeds on insects and occasionally small fish.
The decline of Gila trout populations is attributed to erosion, sedimentation, predation by nonnative fishes, as well as competition and hybridization with nonnative fishes. Gila trout will be considered for delisting when 1) at least 20 populations in the Gila River Recovery Unit are established in at least 150 km (93 mi) of stream; 2) at least 15 populations in the San Francisco River Recovery Unit are established in at least 80 km (50 mi) of stream; and 3) at least four San Francisco-Gila River mixed lineage populations are established in at least 40 km (25 mi) of stream. This rare trout was downlisted from “endangered” to “threatened” in 2006. By protecting the Greater Gila and the wild waters of New Mexico, we hope to ensure that this species recovers fully.
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photo credit: Craig Springer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service