Geologist Karen Lythgoe was having a relaxing Sunday walking along the MacRitchie Reservoir when she stumbled upon a giant carcass of an alligator gar. Astonished by the size of the fish, she took a photo of it to ask more questions about it later.
Later on, Karen shared the photo in a Facebook group and asked the members in the group to identify the creature. That’s when she learned it was non-native alligator gar species that was placed in the reservoir by a pet owner who didn’t want the fish anymore.
This non-native alligator gar species can grow up 7.5 feet long.
Over the last 10 years, authorities have fined over 20 people for illegally releasing animals into the reservoir and there’s a $3,000 fine when caught. If caught releasing animals at national parks and nature reserves it’s a $50,000 fine.
“I was really shocked when I found out that the fish was released in the wild, that’s just irresponsible,” Karen Lythgoe shared with Nature Society (Singapore).
Baby alligator gar averaging around 20cm are commonly sold at fish shops throughout the region and it’s very unfortunate that some people irresponsibly release them into bodies of water that they’re not supposed to be in when they get too big to manage.
Non-native alligator gar species have also been found in other reservoirs like the Bedok Reservoir, Marina Reservoir, and Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park over the last 20 years.
“We would like to remind everyone that the release of animals into our water bodies will disrupt the delicate aquatic ecosystem of our waters and may also pose a risk to users of our water bodies,” NParks and PUB told Straits Times.
To help protect these areas, officials discourage others from releasing non-native fish into lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. In addition to that, if you’re ever considering purchasing an alligator gar, there’s a YouTube video that shows what happens after you make the purchase.