New York state and city wildlife officials say it’s too soon to know the local impact of exotic eels dumped into a Brooklyn lake last month.
The nonnative eel species has been illegally released into freshwater bodies in at least eight U.S. states, including New York.
Officials don’t expect the eels to survive winter in the Big Apple, but biologists warn they could still outcompete and prey on native species this fall.
The recent eel release is just one example in a long history of city residents letting exotic animals loose in urban parks.
In late September, a man was seen dumping what is believed to be more than 100 live eels into the Prospect Park lake late at night, according to a Brookyln Paper report shared by New York officials.
“Please do not release unwanted pets and other animals in the park. In many cases, they’re not suited to survive in the wild, and those that do survive can harm native plants & wildlife and their homes,” the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation tweeted.