The Last Chance Lagoon: Managing Human Nature and the Ecosystem

The Great Lakes of the US and Canada are the world's largest freshwater ecosystem in the world, and those who manage it have been battling invasive Asian carp for 50 years, to the point that migrating fish must go through gates and be sorted or rejected by species. But as conservationists are starting to win the battle against carp, they are confronted with a growing number of goldfish in the lakes. They started out as discarded pets, but in the wild, they grow to enormous size and reproduce like no one's business. They displace native species and wreck the ecosystem.  

Goldfish are commonly a beloved family pet, but when they outgrow their tank or otherwise must be discarded, people understandably don't want to take the easy way out, like, say, feeding it to the cat. Flushing a goldfish seems cruel, and does not guarantee their death. To solve this dilemma, the Erie Zoo launched the Last Chance Lagoon, a place to "retire" pet goldfish without releasing them into the wild. The zoo has taken in 52 pet goldfish. That doesn't seem like much, but it may inspire other communities to launch similar programs to keep goldfish out of public waterways.   

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When I lived in Louisiana for ten years we installed a small pond on our front yard. I bought a dozen feeder fish (goldfish) and put them into the pond where they thrived and got bigger and bigger. They were about 8 inches long when they disappeared. I figure a bird or raccoon had a feast of them. I ended up buying more feeder fish and they grew big, too, and then disappeared. Between some animal biding their time to have a really big snack and my city spraying the area w/poison (unannounced so we had no time to cover the water in the pond!) to kill off mosquitoes which killed off my fish, too, we finally just caught the local fish in the bayou behind my back yard and put them in the pond. Nothing would kill those little guys.
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