It sounds like the most outrageous of urban myths: When you flush a goldfish down the toilet it survives and becomes an enormous super fish in the wild. But this is no myth! And in fact, it’s a huge problem. Recently, a Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper (BNW) posted a photo on Facebook of a whopping 14-inch goldfish that was found in the Niagara River.
The BNW captioned the photo by saying “This 14-inch goldfish was caught in the Niagara River, just downstream of the wastewater treatment plant. Goldfish can survive year-round in our watershed and can destroy the habitat of native fish. Scientists estimate that tens of millions of Goldfish now live in the Great Lakes. If you cannot keep your pet, please return it to the store instead of flushing or releasing it.”
In addition to the millions of goldfish living in the Great Lakes, the vibrant runaway pets are making themselves at home in such far-flung places as London’s Epping Forest, the Canadian province of Alberta, Nevada’s Lake Tahoe Basin and Australia’s Vasse River.