In an unexpected twist, an 11-year-old boy from Edmond, Oklahoma, made a fascinating catch while fishing in his neighborhood pond. Charlie Clinton reeled in an exotic fish known as the Pacu, a freshwater species closely related to the carnivorous piranha, native to South America’s Amazon region.
The Surprising Discovery
On July 16, Charlie Clinton caught the unusual fish in the pond behind his family’s house, a favorite fishing spot for him. At first, he thought it might be a giant sunfish, but as he examined the fish more closely, he noticed its distinctive feature: human-like teeth. Intrigued and unsure of what he had caught, Charlie called for his mother, Janna Clinton, to take a look.
An Unlikely Friendship
Charlie Clinton was both shocked and excited by the discovery. “It didn’t belong in the pond,” he said, emphasizing the fish’s exotic nature. The Pacu, a species not native to Oklahoma, is believed to have been illegally released into the pond, according to authorities.
A Catch-and-Release Pond
The young angler caught the fish in a “catch and release pond” and was unaware of the fish’s true identity or that it should have been removed from the pond. After a spirited struggle, he released the Pacu back into the water. Although no one else has captured the fish since then, Charlie hopes to catch it again.
Concerns for the Environment
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation expressed concern about the presence of non-native fish like the Pacu in local waters. Such exotic species can pose a threat to the native wildlife by competing for resources and disrupting the ecosystem. Kelly Adams, the communication and education supervisor for the department, noted that they receive reports of such occurrences every few years, likely due to people releasing their aquarium fish into the wild once they outgrow their tanks.
Learning from the Experience
Charlie Clinton plans to contact the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to discuss relocating the exotic Pacu. Despite its human-like teeth, the Pacu is not dangerous to humans, unlike its piranha cousins.
Responsible Pet Ownership
Authorities remind the public that if they find themselves needing to rehome a pet or an exotic creature, they should contact local shelters or state wildlife departments to learn about responsible relocation options. This ensures the safety of both the animals and the local ecosystem.