A lethargic, possibly cold-shocked alligator has been hauled from a New York lake near an area popular with children, officials and passers-by said.
“It’s totally unexpected,” said Joseph Puleo, vice president of District Council 37, which represents the city park workers who ended up pulling the animal – nicknamed Godzilla – out of the water.
“We were notified by someone who saw it,” Puleo told The New York Post. “It wasn’t moving really at all.”
Park workers removed the beast, which was spotted floating on the water near Duck Island by the green space’s southeastern edge, at around 8.30am on Sunday.
They brought it to Animal Care Centers of NYC – Brooklyn, Puleo said.
Park patrons who expected a quiet Sunday morning were more than a little caught off guard by the incident.
“If I saw that gator, I would have kicked it back in the water!” said a Brooklyn man who only gave the name Moses as he sat in a lawn chair near the scene.
“You’d never expect to see something like that here. But man, I feel bad for it,” Moses said. “It shouldn’t be in a lake. Animals are like people, you know?”
A nearby fisherman said he’s glad he didn’t unwittingly hook the reptile.
“I don’t think I’d get it in, that’s for sure,” the man said. “I’d cut the line and get the hell out of here.”
Vijay Jacob, a 37-year-old dad of two from Brooklyn, called the animal’s discovery “pretty terrifying”.
“What? An alligator?! OK … oh, my goodness,” the shocked father said when told about the incident as his two young kids played near the shores where the animal was found.
“That’s pretty terrifying since this part is a pretty kids-dominated section of the park,” Jacob said.
“We come here a lot, but I’d never expect to see an alligator here. Maybe that’s why it’s so abandoned here today.”
Meghan Lalor, a rep for the Parks Department, said the reptile was likely an unwanted pet whose owner decided to release it in public waters.
“Thankfully, no one was harmed, and the animal is being evaluated,” Lalor said in an e-mail, noting that it is dangerous to release non-native animals into strange environments.
“In this case, the animal was found very lethargic and possibly cold-shocked since it is native to warm, tropical climates,” Lalor added.
The rep thanked the city Parks Enforcement Patrol and Urban Park Rangers for “snapping into action to capture and transport.”
The Urban Park Rangers respond to around 500 reports of animal conditions per year citywide.
This article originally appeared in the New York Post and was reproduced with permission
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