An 8‑foot alligator believed to have been stolen from a Texas zoo 20 years ago and kept as a pet was recently returned to the zoo, officials announced last week.
The alligator was returned to the Animal World & Snake Farm zoo in New Braunfels on Friday, the zoo and GameWarson of Texas announced.
The alligator was discovered during an investigation into the possibility of hunting without landowner permission on adjacent land in Caldwell County, said Jen Shugert, a spokesman for the guerrilla unit.
“She was doing some good research, asking her neighbors if they had seen or heard anything in the area, and then she encountered an alligator.
The zoo said in a video it released on Friday that the alligator is believed to have been stolen in its egg or hatchling state by a volunteer at the zoo decades ago.
Shugart said the person will be charged with two offenses and fined less than $500 each. The person’s name has not been released.
Shughart said the transfer of the alligator, named Tewa, was decided by a judge in early February.
Game Warden reports that Tewa is happy in her new habitat. She will be introduced to other alligators and will stay at the facility for the rest of her life, the zoo said in the video.
The zoo did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night.
Alligators are endemic to Texas, but in places closer to the coast, such as near Louisiana, officials are more commonly notified of alligators, Shugart said. Caldwell County is located in central Texas, south of Austin.
“The game warden who responded to this alligator situation said this was her first alligator call,” he said.
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