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Devil’s Hole Pupfish

GUARDIAN: David Ek of the National Park Service points to a pupfish in Devil’s Hole, Nev. Two years ago hundreds of the fish lived in the pool, part of the Death Valley park. Fewer than 80 remain. (Stephen Osman / LAT)
DWINDLING: The inch-long pupfish have been devastated by groundwater depletion, low fertility and a 2004 accident. (Stephen Osman / LAT)
FENCED OFF: A barrier topped with barbed wire surrounds Devil’s Hole. It was erected in an effort to protect the fish, whose fate was the focus of a 1976 Supreme Court battle as conservationists fought to stem the pumping of water for irrigation. The court ruled for the fish. (Stephen Osman / LAT)
ISOLATED HABITAT: Instruments monitor the water at Devil’s Hole, reached by a dusty desert road. On Thursday (Feb. 9) a team is expected to convene in Las Vegas to weigh emergency measures. One option is to try to breed the fish in captivity and return them. (Stephen Osman / LAT)
DESERT ROAD: A truck kicks up dust as it travels on the desert road leading to Devil’s Hole in Death Valley. (Stephen Osman / LAT)