In 1924 a north Canterbury farmer discovered a new species of fish – not an amazing feat in itself, except this fish doesn’t need water to survive
Today, the town of Oxford made the critically endangered fish a local hero in an effort to save it.
The endangered Canterbury mudfish are so hardy they can exist by burrowing into mud and breathing through their skin.
Although they have been in the area for thousands of years their future is under threat.
That is why the town of oxford is trying to raise the fish’s profile.
Maori have long known about the fish but it was local farmer Alfred Burrows who discovered their unique properties.
In 1924 he was digging a well when he noticed several small fish in the paddock around him.
Alfred Burrows knew you do not normally find fish living in paddocks so he sent a live specimen to the Dominion Museum where it was found to be an entirely new species.
Unfortunately by then the Canterbury plains had changed from lush wetland to productive farmland.
Because so much of their habitat is gone they’re classified as ‘nationally endangered’.
In fact, it is the country’s second most threatened fish.
So the area’s supporting the creature online – the fish has its own website – mudfish.org.nz.
And everyone here hopes the extra attention will help out these lesser known locals.