Nearly 50 native Rio Grande cutthroat trout have been rescued from a creek that's being threatened by a wildfire in northern New Mexico.
Biologists hiked about 2 miles up Macho Creek in the Santa Fe National Forest on Wednesday and removed 49 trout.
Officials say the rescue mission will ensure the pure strain of native fish will survive if the Tres Lagunas Fire threatens the area.
The fish were taken to a hatchery for safekeeping. They will be returned to the creek if it's spared by the fire.
There are few remaining pure populations of the trout in the Pecos drainage, and officials say each population is critical to long-term persistence and stock for future restorations.
The Rio Grande cutthroat trout is considered a candidate for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.