LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Devil’s Hole pupfish is one of the world’s most endangered species.
But researchers say it has taken a small step away from oblivion over the past year.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the wild population of the dime-sized fish nearly tripled — from 35 in April 2013 to 92 last month.
The fish live in one water-filled cavern near Death Valley, about 90 miles west of Las Vegas.
The species has been under federal protection since 1967. Officials say extinction remains a real possibility.
Officials are reporting progress in a nearby captive-breeding program established to provide a backup population for the unique ecosystem.
Researchers are trying to establish a self-sustaining number of fish in a 100,000-gallon tank filled with water pumped from the same Devil’s Hole aquifer.