Humboldt Park alligator hunt ramps up, Florida gator expert brought in

CHICAGO — Chicago is ramping up its effort to catch and remove the 4 to 5 foot long alligator in the Humboldt Park Lagoon with a new strategy.

Chicago Animal Care and Control closed the east half of Humboldt Park to pedestrian traffic and protective fencing has been put up. Street, parking and walking path closures went into effect Sunday night.

Specifically, the  areas bounded by Humboldt Park Drive, Division Street, California Avenue and North Avenue are closed until further notice. There is also no access to Luis Munoz Marin Drive east of North Humboldt Park Drive.

The west end of the park, including the swimming area and field house, remains open.

Alligator expert Frank Robb, who owns Crocodilian Specialists Services in St. Augustine, Florida, was brought in Sunday to guide the capture effort.

The gator was first spotted Tuesday morning by photographer Ren Horst-Ruiz who was taking pictures with clients.

The alligator was likely someone's pet and became too big to handle.

"Alligator Robb" of the Chicago Herpetological Society set up several traps with no success.

Over the weekend, crews attempted to lure the animal out by playing baby alligator sounds, a method that has worked in the south.

Animal Care and Control's director said people's behavior may be influencing the alligator's behavior. People have flocked to the lagoon every day since its first appearance.

Experts hope a calm, quiet lagoon will increase their chances of capturing the alligator.

The hunt for the reptile has spawned "Gator Watch" merchandise, tote bags and t-shirts from Block Club Chicago.

People have nicknamed the gator "Chance the Snapper," after the Chicago native musician Chance the Rapper.

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