BROOKLYN (PIX11) — Park workers rescued an alligator found in Prospect Park Lake on Sunday, officials said.
The 4-foot-long gator was spotted on Sunday morning, according to a Parks Department spokesperson. The alligator was found in poor condition. It was very lethargic. The alligator may have been shocked by the cold since it’s native to warmer climates.
“Parks are not suitable homes for animals not indigenous to those parks—domesticated or otherwise,” the spokesperson said. “In addition to the potential danger to park goers this could have caused, releasing non-indigenous animals or unwanted pets can lead to the elimination of native species and unhealthy water quality.”
The alligator was taken to Animal Care Centers and then brought to the Bronx Zoo for rehabilitation, officials said. No one was harmed while recovering the alligator.
“It wasn’t moving very much. It was heavy, but it wasn’t as hard to wrangle it as I thought it would be because it was so still,” said New York City park ranger Judith Velosky, who assisted in the transport.
It is illegal to keep alligators as pets in New York. And releasing animals into New York City parks is also illegal, officials said.
“People get these animals to show off,” said Vinny Ritchie, a reptile expert in New York City. “They don’t care about what’s going to happen a year or two from now. Who’s going to be able to care for this? Is it a good pet to have?”
Velosky reiterated that animals should not be abandoned at parks.
“Learn about New York City wildlife and the importance of keeping our ecosystems in balance and not releasing anything that doesn’t belong here,” Velosky said.
Anyone who spots an abandoned animal should call 311 or find an urban park ranger. Each year, urban park rangers respond to around 500 reports of animal conditions in New York City.