Things were going swimmingly for this two foot alligator until last night when Trinity Western University security caught sight of the cold blooded critter. The sighting prompted calls to Langley Animal Control and the Reptile Refuge, which both came out Tuesday afternoon to catch him.
Volunteer Steve Hoffman and Paul Springate, Curator of the Reptile Refuge and who could be Canada's next “Crocodile Hunter,” began the tedious and cold task of trying to locate the animal in the frigid waters of a ravine. Snaking around fallen trees, river mud and a fragile ecosystem, Paul, an expert in catching crocodiles, witnessed belly and claw marks in the mud – indications of the alligator's presence.
“He's definitely been hanging around in here,” said a muddy and cold Springate, “I'm astounded that he's still alive given the cold water temperatures. As the seasons warm this croc could survive until about October, but wouldn't survive the winter for sure – this little guy right now needs my help.”
After several failed attempts at sighting the animal, Paul will return to try to locate it once more by luring the animal out with food. He will continue this until the animal is caught.
According to Springate how the animal arrived at TWU is a bit of a mystery. Many people purchase alligators as small pets but once they grow out of aquariums or owners realize how much work they require they are occasionally released into the wild. It also could have gotten away from someone who was playing with it outside – Springate doesn't know for sure. Unfortunately given the cold climate the animal will soon die unless it can be caught.
“Right now the croc knows he is free and in the wild. Sadly, once he's caught he will go into an aquarium and live the rest of his life in captivity. Knowing that I have to take that freedom away is the hardest part of my job,” says Springate.
For now the little alligator will continue to live out the last few moments of his freedom sunning himself and soaking in the tranquility of TWU's pastoral campus.
Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers undergraduate degrees in 39 major areas of study ranging from business, communications and education to biotechnology and nursing, and offers 15 graduate degrees in such areas as counseling psychology, business, the humanities, theology and administrative leadership.
Last Updated: 2007-10-11