Belgian catches piranha in local lake

Reuters News
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Posted: May 08, 2013 5:54 AM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A Belgian fisherman has caught a potentially lethal piranha in a lake near his home, prompting wildlife authorities to warn against the careless disposal of exotic pets.

Bjorn Vancant, 20, caught the meat-eating South American fish while angling near Mechelen, in northern Belgium.

Belgian wildlife group Natuurpunt said the catch underlined the risks of releasing non-native species into the local ecosystem, with American bullfrogs and the red-eared slider turtle also both recently found in Belgium.

"It is incredibly difficult to stop these creatures from spreading, especially those living in our waterways," said Griet Nijs, a researcher with Natuurpunt.

Rangers have been told to keep an eye out for more piranhas at the lake, but Natuurpunt said they were unlikely to become permanent residents since the water was too cold in winter.

(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Luke Baker)