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Alligator seen in Hope Mills Lake captured, moved to protected wildlife area

Posted June 22, 2010
Updated June 24, 2010

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— State wildlife officers on Tuesday captured an alligator that has been swimming in Hope Mills Lake for the past two weeks.

The gator was spotted at 2:30 p.m. just below the dam’s spillway. The lake drained late last week when a sinkhole developed under the dam used to create the lake.

Officials from the N.C. Wildlife Commission spend five hours trying to capture the gator.

"He was a wild gator. He was moving and evading us pretty good,” Lt. Brent Spivey of the Wildlife Resources Commission said.

Authorities closed the lake to swimmers on June 9 after the 5-foot-long gator was first spotted. Residents were warned to stay away until the gator could be caught.

"We tried several techniques that didn't work. So we decided to try to snag him with a small hook,” wildlife biologist Tom Padgett said. "The hook was just barely embedded in his skin.”

After a half-hour of reeling, the gator was pulled into the back of a pickup truck around 7 p.m.

“A little bit of luck and a whole lot of patience,” Spivey said of retrieving the gator.

Hope Mills alligator caught Hope Mills alligator caught

It's unclear where the alligator has been in recent days, but wildlife officials said the gator likely first came over the spillway's fish ladder when the lake was still full.

The gator was transported to an undisclosed temporary location and was eventually released at the Jambbas Ranch on Tabor Church Road in the Cedar Creek community of Cumberland County. Officials had planned to take the animal to a Brunswick County preserve, but they decided against transporting it in the hot weather.

“In this heat, it (the gator) could die,” Spivey said.

12 Comments

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  • FromClayton Jun 24, 2010

    If the heat here could kill it...how the heck do they survive the heat in Florida?
    bikinibare

    it goes in the water! all you see is gator eyes sticking out...

  • Garnerian Jun 23, 2010

    I'm sure there is more than one laying around somewhere close by.

  • realcloak Jun 23, 2010

    This sounds like an old Jerry Clower stand up joke.... if it does'nt, he probably could use this as material. Country bumpkin cops, a gator, and a busted dam. Good times had by all.

  • bikinibare Jun 23, 2010

    If the heat here could kill it...how the heck do they survive the heat in Florida?

  • readme Jun 23, 2010

    "Look at the effort made to capture the gator with no financial return. The gator could have been sold for meat and hide to offset the cost spent in capture him." - well wouldn't that be a felony under the new law? Hard to say, isn't it. But personally I think a wild alligator is a lot more important to this earth than another chihuahua.

  • NoFreakinWay Jun 23, 2010

    about time! my Granny could have caught him before they did. We're sending her to find BenLadeda Laden.

  • smitty2881 Jun 23, 2010

    i thought they busted the dam on that lake

  • colliedave Jun 23, 2010

    Look at the effort made to capture the gator with no financial return. The gator could have been sold for meat and hide to offset the cost spent in capture him.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Jun 23, 2010

    "So what happens next?"

    A new purse, knee-high boots, and a gator-tail cookout. yum-yum.

  • littlebobeep Jun 23, 2010

    Let's hope there was just one.

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