Piranhas in Turkey's longest river cause confusion

DOGAN NEWS AGENCY
SİVAS, Turkey
Published 03.08.2017 00:12

River Kızılırmak, Turkey's longest river, has been under the spotlight due to the third piranha incident. Amateur fishers in Sivas caught their third piranha in the last 20 days, an unlikely situation since the ecology of Kızılırmak is not suitable for a piranha population.

Commenting on the incident, Associate Professor Bülent Ünver said piranhas are dangerous fish and are "predators." "These fish originate in the Americas and it is unlikely for them to be in Kızılırmak. They were probably released into the waters by a person who purchased these fish from a pet shop. We are not certain whether the piranhas will cause damage to the current fish population in Kızılırmak. We will study these piranhas to see whether they are meat-eaters or plant-eaters," Ünver said.

Piranhas usually prefer warm waters and the water in Kızılırmak is not suitable for them to breed. For piranhas to inhabit Kızılırmak, the climate as well as the chemical reactions inside the river must be suitable. , The experts claim that it is most likely that some people released these piranhas into the river, putting all the other living creatures in the river in danger. Associate Professor Ünver said: "Each creature has to live in its own habitat and they cannot be released as people please. Piranhas do not usually attack people; however, they can do as they are very hungry during mating season. We are not yet certain which kind of piranhas the fishers caught in Kızılırmak but we will figure it out soon enough."

One of the piranhas caught by fishers has been taken to the Provincial Directorate of Food, Agriculture and Livestock.

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