Wild Jobs: Alligator Gar Wrangler Chris Kennedy

By | April 1, 2011
From Xplor: April/May 2011

Chris Kennedy is part fisherman, part explorer and part dinosaur hunter. lately he’s been on the lookout for a living legend — alligator gar.

Chris is smitten with his odd-looking finned friend. “They’re just so cool! There’s no other fish like it,” Chris says. “People see those needle-sharp teeth, but alligator gar are not mean like people think. They’re more like a lazy teddy bear.”

Alligator gar have been around since the days of the dinosaurs. They are one of the largest fishes in North America and can reach more than 5 feet in length and weigh upwards of 200 pounds. Some live to be 100 years old. “But we still don’t know much about these secretive fish,” Chris says.

Part of Chris’ job as a fisheries biologist is to learn more about alligator gar so he can help preserve their habitat. But Chris knows there’s more to it than just saving an odd-looking fish.

“Restoring a healthy river system helps us all,” Chris says. “The more wetlands and floodplains we have, the cleaner the water will be. That helps the fish and us.”

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This Issue's Staff

David Besenger
Bonnie Chasteen
Chris Cloyd
Peg Craft
Brett Dufur
Les Fortenberry
Chris Haefke
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Kevin Lanahan
Kevin Muenks
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White
Kipp Woods