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'Lethargic' alligator rescued from Brooklyn's Prospect Park in New York City

Officials said it was likely released by its owner far away from the species’ warmer habitat in the southeast United States.

A “VERY LETHARGIC” alligator was captured in a New York park, according to city officials, likely released by its owner far away from the species’ warmer habitat in the southeast United States.

The reptile was spotted on Sunday morning in Prospect Park, a favorite place for Brooklyn residents to picnic and stroll with their pets, especially when winter temperatures are in the 50s Fahrenheit (10-15 degrees Celsius) like over the holiday weekend.

Rangers captured the four-foot-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 2023

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