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Piranha in Santa Barbara City Pond Proves Elusive to Captors

From Associated Press

A piranha nicknamed Alice that has turned a city pond into its own version of “Alice’s Restaurant” eluded capture by fishermen armed with nets and electro shock equipment, but a second fish bit the hook.

“It was a good fight,” said city parks worker Bob Sloan who reeled in the captured piranha. “He came out of the water twice.”

However, Jeff Cope, the park’s superintendent, said Alice the piranha seems even more wary of people after its compatriot was bagged. The two fish were recently spotted in the pond at Alice Keck Park, which has become a popular dumping ground for unwanted fish.

Maimed Turtles

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Park visitors and workers began finding a number of dead fish that had been partially eaten, and turtles were suddenly missing legs. Frogs fled the habitat for safer ground.

As dozens of spectators looked on, the first piranha was caught on a hook baited with beef liver on Friday morning. Ken Sasaki, state Department of Fish and Game biologist, described the fish as measuring 17 inches and weighing 2 1/2 pounds. The fish actually had been caught once before, but was tossed back when it was misidentified as a pacu, a harmless piranha look-alike.

Cope said the park department’s next plan of attack may be to get an expert archer to skewer the fish, or perhaps use a baited underwater trap.


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