Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ US https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ ‘Large pile’ of eels dumped in New York City park; the effect is not yet known

‘Large pile’ of eels dumped in New York City park; the effect is not yet known



NEW YORK – Andrew Orkin was resting from his night jogging to sit next to Prospect Park Lake when he turned around and was surprised to see a tangle of snakes attached.

“And it’s quite a big pile – a lifetime,” said Orkin, a music composer who lives near a Brooklyn park.

These are eels that escape from one of two large plastic bags that are scattered as a man pulls them to shore. After throwing the eels into the lake, the man walked away, explaining to the audience that “I just want to save lives.”

The illegal release late last month has become a curiosity on social media, but the dumping of exotic animals in city parks is not new. In cities across the country, non-native birds, turtles, fish and lizards have fixed, and often disturbed, local ecosystems.

New Yorkers free thousands of non-native animals each year, many of them abandoned pets that are dying fast. But others can survive, reproduce and end up causing lasting damage.

“People like animals and sometimes they think they are doing something good by letting them go,” said Jason Munshi-South, urban ecologist at Fordham University. “Most will die. Some will be a problem, and then never come back. “

New York state and city officials say it is too early to know how tuna in Prospect Park will affect local species. But based on photos taken by the survivors, officials identified them as swamp eels native to Southeast Asia as found in at least eight states.

When introduced ̵

1; often after being sold at local live fish markets, officials said – eels eat almost anything including plants, insects, crustaceans, frogs, turtles and other fish. And they can prey on or compete with native park species no matter how long they survive, said Katrina Toal, deputy director of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation’s Wildlife Unit.

There are no plans to eliminate eels. Because they spend the night and spend most of their time buried in the sediment of lakes, rivers and swamps, it is impossible to find and remove them from the lake.

DEC officials said they will look for swamp eels in the agency’s next survey in the spring, but do not expect them to finish in the winter.

However, University of Toronto freshwater ecologist Nicholas Mandrak said, “Even if they do not survive, they can have negative short-term effects.”

If some Prospect Park transplants survive within a few years, climate change may make it possible to heat the city’s water enough to provide them with shelter for swamp eels, Mandrak said.

“We should not have an immediate conclusion that because they are located in Asia they will not survive in New York City,” he said.

The exotic species previously appeared in the Hemlock and Canadice lakes of western New York state in 2019 and Meadow Lake of Queens in 2017. Everywhere, biologists found Asian swamp eels in Hawaii’s waterways, Georgia, New Jersey, Maryland, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania

New York City has a long history of people introducing exotic species to its parks.

In 1890, Shakespeare enthusiasts released a herd of nearly 60 European starling in Central Park that grew into the current population of hundreds of millions nationwide that surpassed native birds, destroyed crops and occasionally -snarl of jet engines.

For decades, pet Red-eared slider turtles have been abandoned in city ponds, creating a major nuisance that crammed into locally painted turtles and boosted green flowering algae.

Obscene, sharp-toothed fish in the North Snake – introduced by pet stores, live food markets and aquarium hobbyists across the US – was spotted in New York’s Harlem Meer and Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

And descendants of escaped or released monk parakeets and Italian wall lizards are scattered in the city boroughs.

Eels are just the latest stage. “This is an unusual and fascinating story,” Toal said, “but one thing that often happens is that people release an unwanted pet.”

“This kind of species is a bit confusing. They’re hidden,” Toal said. “We won’t go there and try to trap any of them.”

Without witnessing the release, officials from the New York State Department of Environment, which is investigating the incident, could not determine the number of eels released last month. Viewers described seeing more than 100 of them.

DEC officials said they will look for swamp eels in the agency’s next survey in the spring, but do not expect them to finish in the winter.

However, University of Toronto freshwater ecologist Nicholas Mandrak said, “Even if they do not survive, they can have negative short-term effects.”

If some Prospect Park transplants survive within a few years, climate change may make it possible to heat the city’s water enough to provide them with shelter for swamp eels, Mandrak said.

“We should not have an immediate conclusion that because they are located in Asia they will not survive in New York City,” he said.

The exotic species previously appeared in the Hemlock and Canadice lakes of western New York state in 2019 and Meadow Lake of Queens in 2017. Everywhere, biologists found Asian swamp eels in Hawaii’s waterways, Georgia, New Jersey, Maryland, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania

New York City has a long history of people introducing exotic species to its parks.

In 1890, Shakespeare enthusiasts released a herd of nearly 60 European starling in Central Park that grew into the current population of hundreds of millions nationwide that surpassed native birds, destroyed crops and occasionally -snarl of jet engines.

For decades, pet Red-eared slider turtles have been abandoned in city ponds, creating a major nuisance that crammed into locally painted turtles and boosted green flowering algae.

Obscene, sharp-toothed fish in the North Snake – introduced by pet stores, live food markets and aquarium hobbyists across the US – was spotted in New York’s Harlem Meer and Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

And the descendants of escaped or released monk parakeets and Italian lizards on the wall are scattered throughout the city lands.

Eels are just the latest stage. “This is an unusual and fascinating story,” Toal said, “but one thing that often happens is that people release an unwanted pet.”

Follow Marion Renault on Twitter: @MarionRenault

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. AP is solely responsible for all content.


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