The Gila trout was one of the original species listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1973. At that time, its range had been reduced to only four streams within the Gila forest. Through recovery efforts, federal officials decided in 2006 to downlist the trout to threatened status. However, wildfires burning around the West this summer have threatened the trout, leading a special team of biologists to take steps to save them from the post-fire ravages – choking floods of ash, soil and charred debris.
A team of biologists went to south western New Mexico and using electroshocking devices they temporarily stunned the Gila trout so they could be quickly scooped into a net. They were then put into a tank and flown out of the wilderness by helicopter to a hatchery in northern New Mexico for safe keeping.