The Golden Mahseer enlisted as Endangered Species

Misidentification, discharge into the inappropriate rivers, dam building, and other factors threaten mahseer, one of Asia’s most famous freshwater fishes.

The article will provide some key facts about the Golden mahseer for your IAS preparation.

In this article, we shall discuss the characteristics of a Golden Mahseer and the habitat, conservation measures and the status of the species.

Why is it in the News?

The Golden mahseer has been classified as the red list of endangered species category by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

  • The IUCN Red List of critically endangered species is the world’s leading database of plant and animal species’ global conservation status.
  • It is often regarded as the most reliable source of information on the state of biological diversity.

Aspirants must also refer to the list of species in news important from the UPSC prelims examination perspective. Questions based on the same can be asked in the objective format for other government exams as well.

The following links will also be of immense help to the candidates in their preparation for the UPSC Exam:

Golden Mahseer – UPSC Relevant Facts

  • Mountain and sub-mountain environments are home to the Mahseer, the world’s longest-living freshwater fish. It is a species of the genus Tor.
  • It is also known as the tiger of Indian rivers.
  • Scientific Name: Tor putitora.
  • Weight: Maximum 50 kg.
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently has been labeled endangered status for the Golden Mahseer.
  • The Pong Dam reservoir, roughly 250 kilometers from Shimla and 190 kilometers from Chandigarh, is home to a large population of Golden Mahseer.

Habitat and Distribution

Golden Mahseer prefers fast-moving waters, preferring rocky and stony substrates in highland streams. The mahseer can be observed at temperatures ranging from 5 to 25 degrees Celsius. The fish is also present in huge reservoirs and lakes.

The Golden Mahseer India can also be found in the Himalayan foothills, the Indus, Ganga, Brahmaputra basins, the Cauvery, Tambraparini, and Kosi Rivers in the south. Individuals live in lowland rivers and lakes until adulthood, and then they move upstream in heavy monsoon conditions to seek adequate spawning sites.

Key Points for UPSC Prelims

Given below are a few important facts about a Golden Mahseer relevant from the IAS Prelims perspective:

  • Mahseer is also known as tiger among fish since it is approximately interpreted as mahi – meaning fish and shir – meaning tiger.
  • The mahseer is frequently compared to the tiger because of its fierce fight back.
  • It is a huge cyprinid regarded as the hardest freshwater sport fish.
  • The mahseer is a cold-water creature with a limited tolerance for warm water. The existence of mahseer is an important metric of a freshwater ecosystem’s health.
  • The dorsal side of a grownup Golden Mahseer is golden, while the fins have a reddish-yellow colour.
  • The fish is also distinguished by its huge scales and broad, muscular lips with larger barbels.
  • Golden Mahseer fish breed during floods lay eggs on rocky and gravel substrates, typically found in ephemeral headwaters.
  • They produce roughly 6,000 – 10,000 eggs per kg.
  • In terms of eating habits, it is omnivorous. Fish of all ages maintain carnivorous during migration, but fish under 46 cm turn piscivorous.

Also, refer to the following links:

Biodiversity Hotspots in India World Wide Fund for Nature
CITES – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora & Fauna What is the IUCN Red List used for?
Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 IUCN Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG)

Decline of population

  • Pollution, habitat loss, and overfishing have contributed to the species’ population declines across much of its natural distribution, which is now considered endangered.
  • There is a scarcity of data on the species’ habitat, feeding, and breeding ecology.
  • The mahseer is a fragile species of fish that can only withstand a little modified aquatic habitat.
  • India is home to fifteen of the 47 Mahseer species found globally. Tor remadevi is among the latest species discovered, while Tor moyarensis, found only in Tamil Nadu’s Moyar river, is another species.
  • Poachers’ use of firearms, electrocution, and obstruction of the migratory path owing to river valley developments are all dangers to the mahseer.
  • The inhabitants in this area go to the river for amusement. They frequently overfish. Many outsiders come to this river to fish, and many of them do it illegally, such as killing fish with plant extracts. As a result of all of this, the mahseer population has steadily declined.
  • The mahseer’s great size is extremely important to people who supply mahseer fish to markets. However, the fish’s weight has decreased dramatically over the years. What was formerly in the region of 25 kg is now just approximately 5 kg. The shift in water temperature is the cause of this decline.


If you are preparing for the UPSC 2023, current affairs and topics like Golden mahseer are extremely important. In addition to the IAS syllabus, topics such as the Golden mahseer will likely be asked in the civil services prelims or the current affairs quiz section.

Aspirants can visit BYJU’S and get the latest exam updates, study material and preparation tips for the upcoming government exams.

Other Related Links
Environment and Ecology Notes for UPSC UPSC Prelims Environment and Ecology questions
Environment & Ecology Questions from UPSC Mains GS 3 Environment Questions & Answers for UPSC
Topic-Wise GS 3 Questions for UPSC Mains UPSC Mains GS 3 Strategy, Structure & Syllabus

Frequently Asked Questions on Golden Mahseer


Why is the golden mahseer endangered?

Pollution, habitat degradation, and overfishing have contributed to the species’ population decline, and it is currently classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


How many Mahseers are there in India?

Mahseer, once thought to be a single species, comprises six distinct species found throughout India.


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