NEW YORK (WPIX) — The alligator found in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Lake over the weekend is extremely emaciated and too weak to feed herself, zoo officials said Wednesday. When she was found, the alligator was lethargic and may have been shocked by the cold, officials said.
“It wasn’t moving very much. It was heavy, but it wasn’t as hard to wrangle it as I thought it would be because it was so still,” said New York City park ranger Judith Velosky, who assisted in the transport.
The gator was then brought to the Bronx Zoo, where they found she weighed just 15 pounds, zoo officials said. An alligator of her size should weigh 30-35 pounds.
“The tragedy of this situation is a reminder that wild animals do not make good pets and that responsible pet ownership means making choices that will not negatively impact an individual animal or the environment,” a zoo spokesperson said.
She is now being tube-fed, according to the zoo, and needs nutrients, fluids, Vitamin B, antibiotics and antifungal medication.
According to the zoo, the gator also has an approximately 4-inch-wide bathtub stopper stuck inside of her.
“The alligator is currently in too weakened a condition to attempt removal of the stopper,” a zoo official said. “We will continue to provide supportive care for her and determine next steps based on how she responds to treatment.”
Keeping alligators as pets, and releasing them in city parks, is illegal in New York.
“People get these animals to show off,” Vinny Ritchie, a reptile expert in New York City, told Nexstar’s WPIX. “They don’t care about what’s going to happen a year or two from now. Who’s going to be able to care for this? Is it a good pet to have?”
This isn’t the first strange animal rescue made in New York City this year. Late last month, a pigeon dyed completely pink was found in Madison Square Park. The bird, believed to have been dyed for a gender reveal, was brought to the Wild Bird Fund in poor condition.
Rita McMahon, the Wild Bird Fund’s director, told WPIX the bird was vomiting and unable to fly. A week after he was rescued, the bird died. Officials believe his death was caused by inhaling the toxins from the dye covering his body. New York Police have since launched an animal cruelty investigation.