12-foot gator released back into the wild

Reported by Laura Sinacori - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - It took four men to rescue a 12-foot alligator that got stuck in a drain at Watermark Marina in Wilmington.

Wildlife rescue expert Jimmy English led the effort as the gator hissed, thrashed, and went into a death roll inside the drain.

English kept the alligator in a tube overnight and then transported it to Holly Shelter Game Land to be released.

He said he is only concerned with the health and safety of the gator now.

"When I'm handling a gator they could be holding square dances around me, and I wouldn't know if there was anybody there or dancing," said English.  "I wouldn't know nothing, I've got my eyes on that gator and I don't never take my eyes off him. I don't ever take my mind off of him. I know what he's thinking all the time."

The gator was agitated, but English and a biologist used the tube to push him towards his new habitat.

"It's away from developments, residential areas and it's a safe place for the gator to be put and it doesn't pose any problems to people," said Vic French.

"Every time they dig a canal, ditch or retention pond and build houses around the thing you put the alligators in people's backyards," said English.  "It's not the alligators fault."

This alligator won't have to worry about people, because he's got thousands of acres to explore without being caught up in pipes.

It is illegal to feed alligators in North Carolina, and wildlife officials strongly warn against it.  They say feeding gators makes them associate humans with food and keeps them coming back for more.

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