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‘Are we going to drain every lake when we spot gars there?’: Expert asks if search for ‘monster’ alligator gar fish is worth it

Alligator gars have always posed a threat to local ecosystems because of its voracious appetite. According to experts, the torpedo-shaped freshwater fish with razor-sharp teeth has few predators and may attack humans if it feels threatened, though such incidents are “extremely rare.”

‘Are We Going To Drain Every Lake When We Spot Gars There?’: Expert Asks If Search For ‘Monster’ Alligator Gar Fish Is Worth It

Despite a week long search for a monster alligator gar that eluded capture since mid-July in a landlocked central Chinese city of Ruzhou, the search team said that they would drain the entire lake and enter the large water pipe to hunt the creature.

Numerous Chinese TikTok influencers who swarmed to the site for the glimpse of the fish have made jokes about the exercise which was livestreamed to more than 37 million viewers by the state-run tabloid Chutian Metropolis Daily; however, Gu Dangen, an aquatic ecosystems expert who works with the Pearl River Fisheries Research Institute, asked if it was worth draining the lake for one fish.

“When a gar gets released into a river, lake or fish farm here, it will start to devour everything, which can be a great threat to local ecosystems,” Dangen told the paper.

But Gu said Chinese authorities may have overreacted.

“Economically, of course, it’s not worth it. Are we going to drain every lake when we spot gars there?” he asked.

Alligator gars, native to the Americas, were introduced to China as pet fish. They were prized for their quirky look, but many were later abandoned or released into the wild after growing too big. Despite Chinese scientists lobbying for the gar to be added to an inventory of invasive species, it remains readily available in pet stores and on e-commerce sites for as little as a few dollars.

The fish can grow up to 10 feet and prefers sluggish bodies of water.