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article imageSightings of a loose 'gator in Colorado keep police busy

By Stephanie Dearing     Aug 3, 2010 in Environment
Palisade - Alligator sightings in Colorado are not as unusual as one might think, particularly because Colorado is home to an alligator farm.
NBC 11 News reported that a carcass of a dead alligator had been found in the state last summer, so when reports of an alligator coming out of the Colorado River were made to Pallisade police, the police were right on the case. While nothing was found, not even a track of the alleged five-foot beast, around a dozen new reports flooded the police as well as the Department of Wildlife, NBC 11 News reported last week.
Apparently most of those sightings were subsequently ruled out as pranks. But not all the sightings have been ruled out and the search for the elusive reptile is still underway. The sightings have inspired vigilante-type groups to form to hunt the alligator down, reported KREX TV. Department of Wildlife spokesperson, Randy Hampton, told KREX, “Everyone is on a wild alligator chase now.”
Lest anyone think someone is seriously mistaken, the Department of Wildlife told KREX TV that the possibliity of a real alligator swimming the Colorado River is plausible. An official with the Department of Wildlife, J.T. Romatzke, told KREX “These things aren’t that rare. People do have exotic domesticated wildlife, and they want to release them into the wild.”
For those who desire keeping an alligator in Colorado, a licence is required to keep one or more of the reptiles.
The alligator farm, Colorado Gators, is not linked to the sightings of the Pallisade alligator sightings. The farm has not reported an escape of any of its 400 alligator residents. The owners of the farm take advantage of natural hot springs to raise the animals in Colorado, where winter temperatures can be colder than the rest of the United States mid-west.
The Wildlife agency is concerned about the well-being of the alleged alligator, saying it would only survive around one month in the wilds of Colorado. The agency is asking local people who have seen the alligator to call the Division of Wildlife at (970) 878-6090.
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