Eight-Foot Alligator Stolen From Zoo
An 8-foot alligator that was stolen from a Texas zoo 20 years ago as either an egg or a hatchling has been returned.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials discovered the alligator in a woman’s backyard by chance while investigating a potential case of illegal hunting.
She told them that two decades ago she had been volunteering at a nearby zoo when she took the animals to raise it as a pet.
Since possessing an alligator in Texas is illegal without proper permits, the reptile was returned to Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo – about 40 miles from the woman’s home and just south of Austin.
Game wardens said the woman was sad to lose her pet alligator, named Tewa, and that it had been generally well taken care of, but that it had outgrown its enclosure.
A spokesperson for the department said the confiscation was authorized by a judge in early February after the woman, who was not identified, was unable to meet the requirements of ownership.
Texas law allows people to keep alligators if they are farming, educating or using them for zoological reasons.
‘She did take it a little bit tough but she does still have to follow all of the rules and regulations in the state,’ Texas game warden Joann Garza told KWTX. ‘It was very friendly with her,’ she added.
Jarrod Forthman, who works at the zoo, received a call from the Parks and Wildlife Department soon after they found the alligator.
‘Alligators will have a nest of 50, 60 eggs at a time. So it would have been very easy for someone to take an egg or a hatchling home just kind of without anyone noticing,’ he told the channel.
‘They were volunteers here at Animal World and Snake Farm decades ago and apparently stole this alligator, either the egg or the hatchling alligator at the time, put in in their pocket, and took off and actually kept this thing as a pet for at least 20 years,’ said Forthman in a video.
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