PRATT, Kan. (AP) — Kansas fisheries officials are working to determine how a 39.5 pound alligator gar ended up in a state river.
The fisheries division of the Kansas Wildlife & Parks announced Tuesday that an angler pulled the gar last week from the Neosho River east of Parsons.
Alligator gar aren’t native to Kansas and have never been documented here, the agency said.
Fisheries biologist Connor Ossowski said the experts are confident the fish was caught in the river and are now working to determine its origins.
The mostly likely scenario is that the alligator gar was released into the river after it became too large, officials said.
But fisheries officials said they are not jumping to any conclusions and will use various methods to determine the fish's origin.
The wildlife department warned Kansans in a news release that transporting and releasing fish or other species in public waters, whether they are native or not, is illegal and could spread other harmful species or fish diseases into state waterways.