South Africa

Divers recently filmed a coelacanth fish in St Lucia marine protected area of South Africa. Coelacanths were thought to be extinct for a long time but six of them were spotted in St Lucia last year (see Down To Earth, Vol 9, No 16, January 15, p12). Pieter Venter, one of the divers, said that the coelacanth was spotted and filmed after his team spent four days searching for it. The images can be viewed at

But now the authorities have halted further expeditions. The provincial wildlife authority responsible for the marine reserve said it would not give permission for further dives till research is done on the species' numbers. Officials claim that in some countries, the main threats to the species come from collectors, scientists and those wishing to view coelacanths.

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