More than 3,000 goldfish now call a lake near Boulder home and are threatening the ecological balance, officials say.
Rangers first noticed the goldfish in Teller Lake No. 5 near Boulder on March 13, and since then, their population has exploded to more than 3,000, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The goldfish have become so numerous, in fact, that wildlife officials say they will have to “collect” the fish to “maintain the integrity of the lake.”
“Goldfish are not a native species and are very harmful to the local aquatic ecosystem,” Kristin Cannon, district wildlife manager for Boulder, said in a statement. “We strongly encourage the public not to dump their unwanted pet fish in our waters. It is bad for our environment, as well as illegal.”
Nonnative species can devastate native populations with disease outbreaks and creating unnatural, unbalanced competition for resources, she added.
The area has seen this sort of unwanted population boom before. In 2012, officials were forced to engage in electro-fishing — in which boaters scoop up live fish that are paralyzed by electroshocks in the water — at Thunderbird Lake. The effort yielded 2,275 nonnative goldfish, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The population, officials said, had likely been reproducing in the lake for two to three years.
Anyone with information on how the latest goldfish invasion may have started was encouraged to contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
In the meantime, the goldfish from Teller Lake No. 5 are destined for a raptor rehabilitation center, where they’ll be used as food, Churchill told ABC News.
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