Liberated From Gumbo

Biologists everywhere take the threat of introduced non-native plants and animals seriously.

So when an alien crayfish was found in a Kenai, Alaska, creek this spring, biologists there were justifiably concerned about the potential impact on the state's fisheries. They were also more than a little puzzled about how the invader from Dixie got there in the first place.

At the center of the mystery was a young girl from Anchorage who, taking pity on four live crayfish that were about to become the prime ingredient in her mother's pot of gumbo, released the critters into a creek. "She wanted them to have a better life," said Fish and Game biologist Larry Marsh.

A spokesman said that charges are not likely to be filed against the little girl responsible for all the fuss.--J.R. Absher

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QUOTABLE "Trying to use scientific evidence in a debate with PETA is like trying to potty-train a duck."--Baxter Black, writing in the Tucson Citizen