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Search Continues for 4-Foot Alligator in New Jersey Park
Even gators like vacationing at the Jersey shore.
It is a movie rule almost universally accepted that if you enter an unknown cave system, you are doomed to meet a monster. Black Water: Abyss (streaming now on Peacock) is no exception. It takes place in an uncharted cave hidden in the Australian jungle. There, a group of explorers enter the subterranean cave system and are trapped when a storm floods the entrance. Their exit blocked, they work together to find another way out and survive the massive crocodile hunting the cave waters.
Finding a crocodilian in the uncharted wilderness isn’t unheard of, but you don’t expect to cross paths with one at a park in New Jersey. Recently, visitors to Jersey’s Victor Cromwell Park have shared the manicured grass and shallow waterways with a 3 to 4-foot alligator.
New Jersey Residents Spot Alligator in Local Park
The alligator was first spotted in the park on August 23, and reported to authorities. Over the next several days it was spotted in the park’s Ambrose Brook and Lake Creighton, commonly called the Duck Pond. One witness reported seeing the gator surface, grab hold of a duck floating on the surface, and drag it beneath the water. Just doing gator stuff.
Authorities attempted to locate the animal and closed the park to visitors on Monday, August 28, until the situation could be resolved. That situation, however, is ongoing as the alligator continues to elude all attempts at capture. Police deployed drones to the park to patrol and monitor the alligator’s movements. After locating the animal, police responded to the air and fired a shot into the water, after which the alligator dipped beneath the surface.
It’s unclear if the alligator was struck but it certainly wasn’t killed. “We are continuing to coordinate with state partners to remove the threat that this non-indigenous reptile causes,” the Middlesex Borough Police Department said in a statement on social media.
That’s the real challenge here, both for the alligator and the people: the alligator isn’t supposed to be there. Gators aren’t indigenous to New Jersey and it’s unclear how this one made its way to the park. However, fully grown alligators get as long as 8 – 11 feet and, given this one’s relatively small size and mysterious origin, it’s likely it was kept as a pet and released when it got too big to handle.
Middlesex, New Jersey police are now partnering with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish & Wildlife Conservation in an attempt to capture and relocate the animal. As of August 30, a trap was set near the edge of the lake where the alligator was last seen.