Actual Leonardo DiCaprio has publicly praised Chester Zoo for its conservation work, which saw a fish species ‘brought back from the dead’.
The Oscar-winning megastar and keen environmentalist posted on Instagram to his 55.6m followers to talk about golden skiffia fish.
The fish species hasn’t been seen in its native central-western Mexico since the 1990s, but 1,200 were successfully bred and released into the Teuchitlan River this month.
The reintroduction of the fish coincided with the country’s Day of the Dead celebrations.
Leo wrote: “This year’s Day of the Dead celebrations included a unique ‘resurrection’ in Jalisco, Mexico, where conservationists released more than 1,000 Golden Skiffia into the fish’s native range in the Teuchitlán River.
“The freshwater fish had not been documented in the wild since the late 1990s. The events, in the midst of Mexico’s #DayoftheDead celebrations, included formal speeches, traditional dances and the official release of the fish.
“Bringing the species back from the ‘dead’ is the result of collaborative conservation work between Michoacan University of Mexico, @chesterzoo, the Goodeid Working Group and @Shoal_Org (a program of @Rewild and @synchearth).”
Paul Bamford, regional programme manager for Latin America at Chester Zoo, added: “This project is a great example of how zoos can contribute to conservation in the field through conservation breeding and research, utilising the skills and experience that have been developed in zoos to help strengthen existing and new wild populations.
“By supporting freshwater conservation in Mexico and the ecosystems where the fish live, we’re not only protecting biodiversity and the wellbeing of freshwater environments, but also the people and communities that live alongside them.”
Omar Domínguez-Domínguez, a professor and researcher from the Michoacan University of Mexico, who is leading the golden skiffia reintroduction, said: “The Day of the Dead is a traditional Mexican celebration, when it is believed that people’s deceased ancestors return to the land of the living for one night, to talk and spend time with their families.
“Releasing the golden skiffia at this time is a metaphor for how the species has come back from the dead to return to its home, not for one night, but forever.
“Releasing this species back into the wild is a light of hope for this wonderful family of fishes – the goodeids – and for the conservation of freshwater fish more generally. Knowing that universities, zoos and aquarists can come together to fix some of what has been destroyed and return to nature some of what has been lost is an amazing thing.”
The skaffia was pushed to extinction by dam construction, water extraction, pollution and the introduction of invasive species.
Conservationists hope that the fish being released will ultimately result in a healthy, self-sustaining population that can fulfil its important natural role in the ecosystem of eating algae and mosquito larvae, which helps keep populations of those species in check.
Featured image: Sony Pictures
Inside Piccolino Grande, the £2m Wilmslow eatery set to transport you straight to the streets of Tuscany
The highly anticipated new Piccolino Grande opened its doors this week, showcasing the very best of Italian hospitality.
The Piccolino brand is well-known for its decadent food, opulent interiors and outstanding service, and their newest venture in Wilmslow is no exception.
Following a £2m transformation, Piccolino Grande on Swan Street is a real feast for all the senses.
Elegant marble and brass interiors, a show stopping traditional copper clad pizza oven taking centre stage and a beautiful Winterised Tuscan terrace complete with terracotta flooring – this is Piccolino’s most stylish dining experience to date.
And it doesn’t stop at the interiors, guests at Piccolino Grande in Wilmslow can dine on an exclusive menu created especially for the restaurant.
We were lucky enough to sample dishes from their bespoke menu, and it certainly did not disappoint.
From wafer thin Carpaccio Di Salmon topped with a zingy apple salsa to perfectly pink Bistecca Alla Fiorentina (steak to you and I), this is fresh Italian cooking at its finest.
A standout dish was the Tortellini Di Manzo, an indulgent slow cooked beef shin filled pasta, tossed in savoury sage butter and topped with lashings of parmesan of course.
Paired with a glass of Italian red wine from their specialist wine cabinet, this truly was a match made in heaven.
But what sets this restaurant apart from the rest is the proper Italian hospitality, from the minute you walk through the door to the moment your last glass of wine is poured you’ll be treated to faultless service.
So if you fancy escaping the city centre for an evening to experience the Italian way of dining, then Piccolino Grande is the place for you.
Whether it be to enjoy a cocktail at their elegant bar or to enjoy a meal with friends, you can rest assured you will be welcomed with open arms. To find out more and to book your table, take a look at Piccolino’s website.
Man jailed for raping and assaulting two women as they slept
A man has been jailed after being convicted of raping and sexually assaulting two women while they were sleeping.
Alan Pickering, 40, from Wirral, has been sentenced to 15 years behind bars as well as four years on an extended license.
During the trial at Liverpool Crown Court, the court heard that his victims had woken up to find that Pickering was raping them, with neither giving their consent.
Both victims then repeatedly asked him to stop, but he continued to assault them.
His crimes took place between January 2004 and July 2020 on ‘multiple occasions’ in the Chester and Wirral areas.
Pickering, of Procter Road in Rock Ferry, had previously been found guilty of five counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault by penetration following an earlier trial.
The latest allegations against the man came to light in 2020 after a report was made to social services at Cheshire West and Chester, which was passed on to Cheshire Police.
In addition to his prison sentence, Pickering has also been ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life, and handed indefinite restraining orders against the victims.
Following the sentencing, Detective Constable Peel, who led the investigation, said: “Firstly I would like to commend the victims for the courage and bravery that they have shown throughout this case.
“I know that Pickering’s offending has had a hugely traumatic impact on the victims and having to give evidence during the trial was not easy for them.
“But thanks to the statements they gave, and the evidence we gathered, the jury we’re able to see through his lies and he is now finally being held accountable for his actions.”
Detective Constable Peel added: “Nobody should have to experience what these women have been though and if anything can be achieved from this case, I hope that it encourages other victims of sexual offences to come forward and report them to us.
“We treat all reports extremely seriously, and any allegation will be thoroughly investigated, with the wishes and needs of the victim as our main priority.
“Victims should never feel ashamed to talk about what they have been subjected to. They will receive the help and support they need from our specialist officers, as well as from other support agencies we work alongside, and all victims of sexual offences have the right to anonymity.”