Fish caught 'eating ducks' in shopping mall lake removed because it 'upset children'
A shopping mall's attempt to make their site more appealing with some wildlife went drastically wrong recently after one of the fish was spotted eating its feathered friends.
Lakeside shopping centre in Thurrock, England, was forced to remove an 11kg (24lb) catfish from a man-made lake because it kept attacking - and sometimes even killing - the ducks.
That alone would have been concerning enough, but the incidents were especially troubling because they were witnessed by young children.
"It's not great for kids to see these large fish eating the ducks, so we removed this large catfish," said Ben Norrington, a fisheries officer with the Environment Agency, adding: "[we] will work with the lake's owners to manage the risk posed by the remaining catfish population."
The Alexandra Lake catfish is not native to the UK, and is just one of many invasive species that actually cause quite a lot of damage to natural wildlife.
"Invasive species pose a serious threat to our native wildlife and cost the UK economy a massive £1.8 billion a year," Norrington explained. "Working with the Catfish Conservation Group, we're looking at high-risk waters where fish could escape into rivers and pose a risk to native fish and other wildlife."
In fact, it's not that unusual for catfish (especially ones of this size) to eat prey that are comparatively large. Most species will survive on other fish or aquatic plants and algae, but others have been known to devour rodents, frogs and birds, too. There have been been reports of larger fish attacking humans before.
But fear not, animal lovers - the fish was not punished for its duck-eating ways. Instead, it was relocated to a fully enclosed lake where it cannot harm any more water fowl.
However, other, more aggressive tactics are being employed to protect other ducks from catfish attacks.
The lake in question will now be holding fishing contests over the next few years in order to encourage anglers to catch problem fish and reduce the population in the lake.
Even then, though, the aim would be to take any fish caught and move them to enclosed locations in order to protect natural ecosystems and fisheries.
Catfish are so named for their whisker-like "barbels", which protrude from their faces. There are many different breeds of the fish, which can be found all around the world, but the biggest of them can grow up to a whopping 2.5 metres long, and weigh up to 100kg.