Al, our son has lost interest in his goldfish. Would it be okay to let it loose in our local pond?
Please do NOT. Never let a pet of any kind loose in the wild. Pets can become an invasive species problem when owners let them loose. Pets like goldfish may grow much larger when released into the wild and reproduce quickly, disrupting the ecosystem. They may compete with native fish for habitat and spread diseases. For example, goldfish were illegally introduced into Yesness Pond in Casper. We are currently monitoring the reproducing population and may need to take measures to control them.
When pets get too large or difficult to keep, some people think that letting them loose is the kind thing to do. That's not the case. Most pets will starve or freeze to death and those that do survive can cause significant impacts. Because an illegal fish introduction can have disastrous impacts to a fishery, even an entire watershed, the crime carries some of the highest penalties that exist for wildlife violations.
Donít Let It Loose is a Game and Fish program that helps protect native species in Wyoming. To learn more about the program and what you can do with a pet that is no longer wanted, visit our website download our brochure.