In response to media enquiries about the alligator gars found in the artificial lakes of parks managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), the LCSD and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) gave the following reply today (September 6):
LCSD and AFCD have called on the public not to release animals into the environment. Animals that have been kept by owners, when released into an unsuitable environment, may die because they cannot adapt to it or run into a predator. They will have a low chance of survival. In addition, introduced species, such as alligator gar, can upset local ecosystems and biodiversity. They can cause problems by preying on native species, competing for resources such as food and habitat. They may also carry diseases that threaten native populations.
Experts confirmed that alligator gar has low value of conservation and should not be released. The LCSD so far could not find any organisation with suitable facilities to adopt the fishes. After thorough discussion with the AFCD, the LCSD decided that the appropriate action was to put down the fishes humanely in order to maintaining the ecological balance and ensuring public safety. With the assistance from AFCD experts, LCSD staff gave injections for euthanasia today to the 16 alligator gars which were removed from the parks in the past two days. The alligator gar found and removed from Tak Wah Park on Friday died on the same day.
The LCSD found five other alligator gars in the artificial lakes of its parks today. They will be kept in park areas which are not accessible by the public. The department will deal with them later.
There are 20 artificial lakes located at various LCSD parks for visitors' admiration. These lakes, including the filtration system, are not designed for keeping fish and tortoises. The LCSD will not raise fish in these lakes. Members of the public should not abandon fish or tortoise in the lakes.
Under the Pleasure Grounds Regulation, it is an offence to release fish or feed them in the artificial lakes of LCSD venues. Notices have been put up to remind park visitors. Law enforcement action will be taken against people who violate the regulation. The maximum penalty will be a $2000 fine and 14 days of imprisonment upon conviction.
Ends/Sunday, September 6, 2009