New Jersey Police and Wildlife Officials Successfully Hunt Down Rogue Alligator

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Over the past fortnight, a unique cooperation arose among New Jersey law enforcement and wildlife officials who found themselves in an unlikely role – that of alligator hunters. Their prey was a lone reptile, instigating chaos, as it navigated between two towns.

The entire sequence unfolded under the watchful eyes of the Middlesex Borough Police Department, who dutifully immortalised the tale on their Facebook page. The subject of this peculiar drama was an alligator, an oddity in these parts, and described as a ‘non-indigenous reptile.’ Standing between three and four feet long, the first sighting of this misplaced creature was at the Ambrose Brook of Victor Crowell Park in Middlesex County on August 23.

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Situated about 38 miles southwest of New York City, Middlesex County experienced its fair share of excitement as the incident caused the temporary closure of its park. The park has since been re-opened, albeit with a stringent no fishing, no swimming policy, according to an official statement by Middlesex Borough Police.

To apprehend the elusive reptile, the police forces joined hands with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the state’s Division of Fish and Wildlife Conservation Police and a string of other agencies. Finally, on Thursday night, in a different town altogether, their efforts bore fruit.

An officer from Piscataway Township Police Department managed to secure the alligator around 10 p.m. in the township’s Possumtown neighborhood. This location was a little over 2 miles southeast of where the creature first appeared in the park.

Body camera footage from Middlesex Borough Patrol Officer Ian Paglia displayed the creature in its final moments of attempted escape, lit glaringly by the bright lights of patrolling vehicles. The alligator then disappeared into the grass, trailed closely by officers. The footage showed the officers physically holding the alligator in place using their feet while Officer Paglia tethered it with a blue leash.

The captive, appearing to be in good health and sustaining no visible injuries, was handed over to New Jersey Fish and Wildlife. It was then relocated to Cape May County Zoo, providing temporary housing before its onward journey to a sanctuary in Florida.

In New Jersey, alligators are categorised as dangerous species and their ownership is unlawful. It is speculated that these creatures are frequently purchased out of state and smuggled illegally into New Jersey. When owners find themselves overwhelmed by the care these creatures demand, they often resort to releasing them into local water bodies.