Alligator captured in New York park, possibly 'cold shocked'
NEW YORK - A “very lethargic” alligator was captured in a New York park, city officials said Monday, likely released by its owner far away from the species’ warmer habitat in the south-east United States.
The reptile was spotted Sunday morning in Prospect Park, a favourite place for Brooklyn residents to picnic and stroll with their pets, especially when winter temperatures are in the 10-15 deg C range over the holiday weekend.
Rangers captured the 1.2m-long alligator, which was “found very lethargic and possibly cold shocked,” New York City Parks said in a statement.
It added that such urban public spaces are not suitable homes for animals not indigenous to those parks, and that their release, while illegal, could also lead to the elimination of native species and unhealthy water quality.
The alligator was later transported to the Bronx Zoo for rehabilitation, the statement said, adding that “thankfully no one was harmed.”
The last publicised discovery of an alligator in New York was in June 2001 when authorities, the press and curious residents spent five days following the pursuit and capture of a stray caiman in Central Park.
New York’s Urban Park rangers respond to about 500 animal health reports a year. - AFP