I had all but lost hope on finding a viable captive population of Prognathochromis perrieri. One day, out of the blue, I was contacted by my friend Claudia Dickinson (creator of the CARES program) letting me know that a colony of P. perrieri had been registered within the CARES program. Not only did this individual have a breeding population, but also had fry he wished to pass on to other CARES participants! I was extremely excited at this prospect but cautious as many times in the past, the cichlid entered ended up being a different species altogether.
As curator of Lake Victoria cichlid for the CARES program, part of my duties are to confirm that the species entered is what it’s suppose to be. I figured I would take this a bit further and contact the entrant and try to obtain a group of fry. The gentleman was extremely pleasant and offered to me a group of young. Weather was still on the cool side (winter in the East) so he preferred to wait until temperatures climbed to ensure survival in shipping. Once spring arrived, he informed me that he was ready to ship. Cautious optimism is the best manner to describe my state of mind as I waited for my FedEx driver to arrive. Early in the afternoon my carton arrived. Excitedly I tore open the box to have a look at the fish. There were two groups of cichlid from separate spawns and they were indeed Prognathochromis perrieri! These were the very fish that Dr. Loiselle had procured over 20 years ago and the source that all the members of this species in North America derived from. Even in the bags, there was a male in color. For a second I relished the joy that this beautiful fish was still in existence, and just as happy that I could finally work with it. The gentleman that sent me these fish also informed me that he had another group of fry that he would like to disperse to like-minded CARES involved cichlid keepers. There is a wonderful lady from our club (Hill Country Cichlid Club) that resides in Colorado who had considered P. perrieri her dream fish. The gentleman who sent my group also sent her some fry. She split her group with another fantastic lady and CARES coordinator in my area. I also split my group with another local enthusiast. As Dr. Loiselle had said, “don’t keep all your eggs in one basket”.
~by Greg Steeves