The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources said two local fisherman captured and killed a reptile known as a caiman in the Mon River between Fairmont and Rivesville Friday, Oct. 4.
Caimans are members of the alligator family.
Some caimans used to be sold as pets in exotic animal stores and owners would release them into the wild once they got to be too big to handle.
On Monday, Hoy Murphy, Communications Lead, Marketing and Communications for the Department of Commerce, said that "releasing caimans or any other non-native species is a disservice to the animal, which is not equipped to survive in an unfamiliar environment, and it's a disservice to the native wildlife because it introduces an invasive species that can disrupt the native ecosystem."
The DNR said it is unknown if that was the case in Fairmont.
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources received information that a reptile, possibly a caiman, was in the Mon River between Fairmont and Rivesville.
DNR officials said people were contacting them about an alligator, although based on descriptions the DNR has received, it was believed to be a caiman, which is a member of the alligator family.
DNR Wildlife Resources learned Friday afternoon that the caiman had been captured and killed by two fisherman Friday morning. Marion County Natural Resources Police Officer Jeremiah Clark said the fisherman planned to eat the reptile's tail.