Stolen alligator returns to Texas zoo after 20 years

An 8‚ÄĎfoot alli¬≠ga¬≠tor believed to have been stolen from a Texas zoo 20 years ago and kept as a pet was recent¬≠ly returned to the zoo, offi¬≠cials 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 alli¬≠ga¬≠tor was dis¬≠cov¬≠ered dur¬≠ing an inves¬≠ti¬≠ga¬≠tion into the pos¬≠si¬≠bil¬≠i¬≠ty of hunt¬≠ing with¬≠out landown¬≠er per¬≠mis¬≠sion on adja¬≠cent land in Cald¬≠well Coun¬≠ty, said Jen Shugert, a spokesman for the guer¬≠ril¬≠la 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 War¬≠den reports that Tewa is hap¬≠py in her new habi¬≠tat. She will be intro¬≠duced to oth¬≠er alli¬≠ga¬≠tors and will stay at the facil¬≠i¬≠ty for the rest of her life, the zoo said in the video.

The zoo did not imme¬≠di¬≠ate¬≠ly respond to a request for com¬≠ment Mon¬≠day 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.

‚ÄúThe game war¬≠den who respond¬≠ed to this alli¬≠ga¬≠tor sit¬≠u¬≠a¬≠tion said this was her first alli¬≠ga¬≠tor call,‚ÄĚ he said.

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