7-foot alligator seized from Santa Fe man, moved to ABQ BioPark | KOB 4

7-foot alligator seized from Santa Fe man, moved to ABQ BioPark

Joy Wang
August 16, 2019 06:22 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A Santa Fe man could be facing a serious fine and jail time after keeping an alligator without a permit. 

New Mexico Game and Fish said they found the 7-foot alligator in a kiddie pool. Now, he's swimming at the ABQ BioPark Zoo and getting the help he needs. 

"Seeing photos of that animal, you can tell right off the bat that it was kept in improper conditions," said Matt Eschenbrenner, the supervisor of reptiles at the BioPark. "It's a decent-sized animal, but it is obese. There are some bone issues, there are some dentition issues, issues with the teeth, things like that."

Game and Fish confiscated the 143 pound alligator from a building in Santa Fe.   

"The animal's probably never swam before," Eschenbrenner said. "Seeing him take off, he was a little clumsy, but he got better, you know, relatively soon after that." 

Someone had kept the alligator as a pet, illegally, for 10 years. 

"He goes right to the bottom when he sees people," Eschenbrenner said. "Been pretty traumatic the last couple of days."

The BioPark has gotten about a dozen confiscated alligators over the last 15 years, but usually they're not 140 pounds. 

"The good thing about alligators are they're very resilient, they're very tough," Eschenbrenner said. "I feel in the proper housing, this animal can lead a long and happy life." 

The alligator will be put on a diet and likely stay at the park for at least a month. 

The BioPark already has seven female American alligators, so adding a male to the mix isn't going to work long-term. 


Joy Wang

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