Piranha found in holiday reservoir

24th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

24 August 2004, MADRID - Environmental specialists are investigating how a piranha from the Amazon found its way into a reservoir at the San Juan Dam, a popular holiday destination near Madrid, it was reported Tuesday.

24 August 2004

MADRID - Environmental specialists are investigating how a piranha from the Amazon found its way into a reservoir at the San Juan Dam, a popular holiday destination near Madrid, it was reported Tuesday.

Piranhas are tropical carnivorous fish belonging to the Characidae family, which comprises 700 species of freshwater fish.

The piranha found at the San Juan Dam is relatively small, barely 14 centimetres (5.5 inches) long.

It was captured late last week by a fisherman who, after taking it out of the water, realised it was not native to the reservoir, which has become a major weekend destination for Madrid residents who enjoy swimming and other water sports.

Park rangers told EFE news agency they were surprised that the fish survived in the reservoir waters, which are "very cold" compared with the piranha's original tropical habitat.

According to local environmental official Antonio Sanjuan, the most likely scenario for the piranha's arrival is that "some irresponsible" person who had the fish as a pet got tired of it and tossed it into the dam reservoir.

He noted that such an act is illegal because it upsets the delicate balance of the eco-system.

Freeing an exotic species is a serious violation which carries a fine of between EUR 6,000 and 60,000 ( USD 7,380 and USD 73,800) Sanjuan said.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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