DENVER (AP) — Colorado wildlife officials have released thousands of cutthroat trout into the wild in an effort to preserve the fish.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials released an estimated 4,500 fingerlings that were transported to Cottonwood Creek near Westcliffe July 1.
Officials say the rare sub-species of fish are descendants of 158 cutthroat trout rescued from a wildfire that burned more than 25 square miles (65 square kilometers) in the Sangre de Cristo Range in southern Colorado.
Officials say ash from the fire three summers ago made water in Hayden Creek uninhabitable and the surviving fish were taken to a hatchery near Crested Butte to spawn.
The transport to Cottonwood Creek was conducted by Colorado wildlife and U.S. Forest Service staff and volunteers from Trout Unlimited.
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