CHICAGO — The alligator in the Humboldt Park Lagoon was spotted Wednesday as crews continue their attempt to capture the animal.
The gator was first spotted Tuesday morning by photographer Ren Horst-Ruiz who was taking pictures with clients.
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi later confirmed that a 4 to 5 foot alligator was living in the lagoon at one of the city’s most popular parks.
Officials couldn’t say how the creature got there, but the likely scenario is that someone owned him and dumped him in the Humboldt Park Lagoon once it got too big.
Officials said alligator traps have been placed around the lagoon in hopes the animal will swim into one and be safely removed.
The city’s Animal Care and Control workers, state conservation officers and alligator experts with the Chicago Herpetological Society are all involved in catching the reptile. They’ve been using canoes to search the lagoon and set the traps with various types of food inside.
Among the experts working with officials is “Alligator Bob” who, according to a statement from Animal Care and Control, set the traps and has been checking them periodically.
According to the statement, Bob said it is difficult to predict when the gator will be caught.
“If his owner fed him right before releasing him, he might not be hungry for at least another week or so” Bob said in the statement. “Right now, he is nervous and focusing on exploring his new environment.”
Bob believes that as the “gator gets more comfortable, he will start to explore the lagoon, making it more difficult to locate and catch him.”
Guglielmi said when the animal is captured, it will be “relocated to a zoo for veterinary evaluation.”
Animal Care and Control is working with the park district to adds signs warning the public at the lagoon. They are also working to provide a safe perimeter.
Animal Care and Control said the gator is not large enough to consider “humans as a food source.” The city is still taking precautions.
Officials are asking the public to refrain from making loud noises around the lagoon when the alligator surfaces or throwing food or other items into the lagoon. This will cause the alligator to become afraid and submerge into the water. Also, they advise people to not attempt to go into the lagoon or near the water, and ensure dogs are on a leash away from the lagoon.
The alligator cannot access the beach and swimming area of the grounds. It is currently on the boathouse side (east side).