Alligator Gar Freed: Watch Him Swim For First Time!

Written by Ingrid Raath reporting from the United Arab Emirates

In May, I saw an alligator gar in a pet shop in Abu Dhabi. I felt sorry for the poor fella. He was almost 90 cetimeters long in a tank one meter long.  The alligator gar is not an actual alligator but an ancient species of fish that has survived for 100 million years in the rivers, streams and bayous of the southeastern United States. It grows to be hundreds of pounds and it’s name comes from its alligator-like snout and its double row of sharp teeth.

I teach in the Western Region, three hours from Ahu Dhabi, and the few times I visited the pet shop, he was just laying still. I saw him move once, only to turn around and lay still again. At last I managed to talk to the pet shop owner (who was never there when I turned up) and he said for all he cared I could have the fish, as he had no bigger tank.

I found the assistant curator of Dubai indoor aquarium and we managed to transfer ‘Ali’ to the Dubai aquarium. It was wonderful to see him swim for the first time since adulthood at least.

He wasn’t just a ‘fish with no feelings.’ Of course fish have emotions and feelings too, albeit more primitive than more advanced animals.  Please enjoy this special video of Ali’s first swim in his new home.

His New Home: 2.6 Million Gallons of Water! – Photos

Well, your jaw will drop when you see where Ali lives now.  He is in the world’s second largest aquarium tank.  Have a look!

Do You Rescue Too?  Share Your Story & Photos

The Great Animal Rescue Chase is an international tournament open to ordinary animal lovers who commit extraordinary acts of kindness. If you’d like to share  your rescue story too and potentially be featured in an upcoming Care2 blog, please visit The Great Animal Rescue Chase today.


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Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado4 years ago

I have never seen one.

Magdalen B.
Magdalen B.4 years ago

Taken from Wikipedia,
"Garfish are pelagic. They feed on small fish..." OOps

Marieanne Phillips

Sooooooo glad you came along and spotted him there, and relieved him from his suffering.

Well done.

Mark Leung
Emma G.4 years ago

Oh man! This is such wonderful, heart warming news! :D

Sonny Cook
Liz C.4 years ago

What a joyful, life affirming video. I just lost a fish who, despite an injury seemingly incompatible with survival, managed to find a unique way of living for several months. During her infirmary it became apparent that she responded to more than just her physical care, but to the love as well. I have no doubt that Ali is happy now whereas she wasn't before. To be able to bring relief to another being has got to be the finest gift we have to offer. May those who go out of their way to help an animal be forever blessed.

Estelita atti4 years ago


Brigid C.
Brigid C.4 years ago

So great to see this happy fish! I think there must be so many animals in the world kept in cramped quarters. I wish they could all be free.

MsR S.
MsR S.4 years ago

Well done! Proud of you...

Emily Drew
Emily Drew4 years ago

Awesome video thank you!

Terry Rogers
Joey Pitt4 years ago

Good work , every living creature deserves to live the best life possible . My fish get very exited to see me , they know supper is on the way