Igor and his three friends arrived in December of 2007. Canadian Wildlife Services seized the Black Russian Sturgeons from smugglers and gave the fish to the University of Manitoba to look after, but soon they will need larger quarters and the U of M is looking to find them a good home.
The sturgeons, Acipenser gueldenstaedtii, are renowned for producing great caviar. They are also docile – open the tank lid and they come to the surface for petting – and they are big: they currently stretch about a meter in length but will grow to four meters.
Technically the Canadian Wildlife Services own the fish so all owners need to be approved by them, but staff members in the department of biological sciences are propositioning aquariums and research study groups.
“We love taking care of them but we can’t do it for much longer because they’re getting too big for us,” a spokesperson said. “It will be sad to see them go but as long as they go to a good home we’ll be happy.”
Over the years numerous animals have been given to the University. Frieda, a hinged tortoise arrived in September of 1993 when a six-year-old boy grew tired of her. Abell, a fifteen-foot tranquil male Burmese python was left in an apartment for a landlord to find back in 2000. Pippen and Merry, two ball pythons, were seized by customs in 2004 when a Texan lacked sufficient paperwork for them and so tried to hide them in a potato chip bag. And now all of them travel around to schools as part of a University of Manitoba educational outreach program.
For the moment, however, Igor and his friends stay put.