Image: Laura Wolf / Flickr

LAMPANG — A large fish released into a public park by temple-goers turned out to be the predatorial Amazonian arapaima, officials said Monday.

The well-intended release at a large pond located inside Nong Krathing Park sparked a hunt for the fish due to concerns that the alien species could damage local ecology, fishery official Samatchai Thongkamchum told reporters.

The fish in question is a 30 kilogram arapaima native to the Amazons, which is considered an an aggressive predator and an invasive species to Thai waters, Samatchai said.

Authorities were alerted about the creature after a man posted on a Facebook group for Lampang locals that he made merits on Friday by releasing an Amazonian fish into the pond. Many Thai Buddhists believe freeing animals like fish and birds into the wild contributes to good karma.

But netizens soon identified the fish as the predatorial arapaima and the post went viral.

Samatchai said the fishery department will bring in fishing experts to locate and capture the arapaima.