Zambia’s Iconic Pond Fish Found With Parts Missing

A popular giant pond fish, which died in Zambia two weeks ago and its carcass stolen from a freezer, have been found with parts of its ‘body’ missing.

Zambians, including President Edgar Lungu and other politicians, were thrown into mourning when the fish, affectionately known as Mafishi, died. The fish, believed to be about 22 years old, had lived in a pond at the Copperbelt University (CBU) in the mining city of Kitwe for over 20 years.

CBU Students had organised a candlelight procession to mourn its passing. But its carcass was reported missing from a freezer where it was kept, prompting CBU management to launch a probe.

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The probe led to the discovery of the fish cut in pieces at the residence of a worker at the university. Its scales had been removed and it had been cut into pieces, presumably to be cooked and eaten.

Now, Mafishi’s remains are being stitched together so it can be embalmed.

CBU Vice-Chancellor Professor Naison Ngoma said that Mafishi’s remains were now being worked on for preservation.

“The restoration exercise has started but some parts are missing. They are probably in some people’s bellies somewhere,” he said.

“And as things stand, we don’t know where Mafishi will rest because our colleagues at the National Heritage Conservation want him. He will probably rest in eternity in Lusaka.”

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Mafishi, meaning “Big Fish” in the local Bemba language, was seen by students at the CBU as a sort of good luck fish.

Some students used to pay homage to the fish before exams while others saw it as a stress-reliever.


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