The rescued pups are a much needed boost to the largetooth sawfish populations.
Sharks and Rays Australia has been conducting research surveys across river systems adjacent to Queensland’s Gulf of Carpentaria aiming to find and count sawfish. In Australia, there are four species of sawfish. Three of those are listed as vulnerable and migratory on Australia’s EPBC Act, while the fourth species is listed as migratory. Freshwater (or largetooth) sawfish (Pristis pristis) are critically endangered globally and in Australia they are protected under state legislation in Qld, NT and WA, additional to their EPBC Act listing. Dr Barbara Wueringer, the principal scientist of Sharks And Rays Australia, has been working with sawfish since 2006. As her previous work focused on how sawfish use their saw to both sense and manipulate prey, she finds the practice of amputating a sawfishes saw particularly troubling. The practice is also illegal.
New research has shed light on the function of the distinctive ‘saw’ on sawfish – and how it enables the unusual species to sneak up on its prey.