Conservation expert featured on National Geographic

By Laura Wibbenmeyer - bio | email

PUXICO, MO (KFVS) -  If you've ever seen an alligator gar you know they can look intimidating, but a local expert says they are anything but that.  Chris Kennedy has been fascinated with these gar since he was eight years old.  He says the fascination came from his father.  Kennedy says his father would catch them while fishing and dispose of them because he thought the alligator gar hunted sport fish.  Kennedy says that is a myth, but that many folks have the same perception as his father did.

"They may actually be helping those sport fish communities," said Kennedy. "They look for easy things to eat and those are your prey fish species."

Kennedy has been tracking alligator gar movements at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge.  He says another reason, beside fisherman, that gar are scarce is because habitats like Mingo are being eliminated.

"We have basically managed our rivers for flood control, agriculture and navigation and we need to think how that impacts water quality and quantity and life cycles, alligator gar being one," said Kennedy.

Kennedy also says wetland actually help all of us through our drinking water.  He says it helps to purify the water and also increase the quality of it.

To see an encore presentation with Kennedy and other alligator gar experts watch the National Geographic Channel at 9 p.m. on July 31.

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