Tuesday, August 14, 2007

For his adoring fans

He was first spotted in Harbor City's Machado Lake CA in August 2005, after authoritites claim he was dumped for being too large a pet. Over the next two years, he enjoyed cruising the 53-acre lagoon, dining on frogs, crayfish and the occasional tortillas and chicken legs left by beachgoers and park officials.

The city spent about $180,000 trying to grab him and on security measures to protect the public. At times, he vanished from view and he managed to outwit the professional wranglers sent to grab him. In the end, Reggie the alligator was grabbed in May 2007, while he was sunbathing on the lake bank. He was shipped off to the Los Angeles Zoo and put into quarentine.

On Thursday, August 9, a dozen handlers carried him out before hundreds of his fans, many chanting "We want Reggie" and set loose in his new home. Reggie, the 7 1/2 foot-long 114 alligator was carried out in front of hundreds of people, many wearing Reggie t-shirts and hats, his mouth uncovered and the duct tape unwound and then nudged.

The zoo already has six American alligators and two Chinese alligators but Reggie won't be joining them. He now has a new home in his own fenced pond with a waterfall and marshy plants galore.

"I think he'll be happy here. He's got a luxury suite - it's absolutely gorgeous. It's a great ending to a great story." stated Councilwoman Janice Hahn.

John Lewis, the zoo director, stated that they believe Reggie is about 7 or 8 years old and still has a lot of growing to do. He could grow to 10 feet long and weigh up to 350 pounds. Lewis also stated that they are very proud to offer Reggie a safe haven and Reggie's story is a great example of the importance of not releasing exotics into the wild. At least now, Reggie can be enjoyed by his adoring fans, safely and at no extra cost to the city.

For my previous posts on Reggie, go here and here.

Update: posted Aug 17

At approximately 7:30 am Wednesday, the alarm went out, search teams called in and they looked under every bush and rock in his pen. The verdict...... Reggie had made a "prison break."

He had managed to climb the mesh covered sidewall of his exhibit area and was headed out when they finally found him close to the 10:00 am opening time. Reggie was out near a loading dock, possible thinking that if he looked enough like a package, he could make it outside of the main gate.

He was then placed back into quarentine while they added a mesh overhang to try and prevent any new escape plans he may be hatching. His adoring fans kept asking for him and the plan was to have him back in his exhibt pen by late afternoon on Wednesday.

"I am sure that Reggie simply wanted to explore his new home at the zoo and introduce himself to his neighbors. Or maybe he was heading back to Harbor City," stated City Councilwoman Janice Hahn.

I do hope that they searched him for a concealed hacksaw before he makes good on another run for freedom.

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