NEW YORK CITY (WPIX) — Park workers rescued an alligator found in Prospect Park Lake on Sunday, officials said.
The 4-foot-long gator was spotted on Sunday morning, according to a New York City Parks Department spokesperson. The alligator was found in poor condition. It was very lethargic and may have been shocked by the cold since it’s native to warmer climates.
“Parks are not suitable homes for animals not indigenous to those parks—domesticated or otherwise,” a spokesperson said. “In addition to the potential danger to park goers this could have caused, releasing non-indigenous animals or unwanted pets can lead to the elimination of native species and unhealthy water quality.”
The alligator was taken to Animal Care Centers and then brought to the Bronx Zoo for rehabilitation, officials said. No one was harmed while recovering the alligator.
Releasing animals into New York City parks is illegal, officials said. Anyone who spots an abandoned animal should call 311 or find an urban park ranger. Each year, urban park rangers respond to around 500 reports of animal conditions in New York City.