Authorities in New York City captured a four-foot alligator Sunday in a Brooklyn park as it apparently struggled to acclimate to the cold winter weather.
Parks Enforcement Patrol and Urban Park Rangers caught the tropical species near the 55-acre lake of Prospect Park, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation told CBS News. The reptile was spotted floating in the water at around 8:30 a.m., the New York Post reported.
The lake is around seven feet deep and houses several species of fish and wildlife while also serving as a fishing spot along the shoreline, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
After its capture, rescuers brought the alligator to an Animal Care Center of NYC, where it was nicknamed “Godzilla” before being moved to the Bronx Zoo, the Gothamist reported. (RELATED: Alleged Monkey Swiper Says He’d Do It Again If Released)
Authorities are uncertain as to how the alligator got to Brooklyn, but they reportedly believe someone may have abandoned it there.
“Parks are not suitable homes for animals not indigenous to those parks—domesticated or otherwise,” a park spokesperson told Pix11. “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.”
Say what?! Park workers rescued an alligator found in Prospect Park in Brooklyn on Sunday. The alligator was found in poor condition, possibly shocked by the cold since its native to warmer climates. pic.twitter.com/4ia6Cu8spi
— PIX11 News (@PIX11News) February 20, 2023
A baby alligator was discovered in an empty New Jersey parking lot in January. Law enforcement said the reptile was abandoned by someone who tried to keep it as an exotic pet, the New York Post reported.
American alligators are cold-blooded, often staying in southeastern wetlands and relying on the sun to keep warm, according to the National Wildlife Federation. The 38 to 48-degree weather of New York on Sunday possibly put the visibly “lethargic” out-of-place reptile into cold shock, CBS reported.