WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers, Miami-Dade County Public Works crews and animal trappers have freed an alligator spotted inside of a West Miami-Dade storm drain.
Cellphone video sent to 7News captured the gator lying at the bottom of the storm drain near Southwest 102nd Place on Tuesday.
“I feel bad that it is in there suffering right now,” resident Maggie Castillo said. “It’s so massive that there’s no way it can back up into the canal. I mean, we’re talking about a quarter of a mile stretch that it would have to back up into in order to make it back into the canal.”
Public Works crews pumped about 1,500 gallons of water into the drain to free the reptile. A welder has since sealed the drain, so no person can open it if the reptile decides to return.
“When we attempted to move the gator, it backed away,” FWC spokesperson Ronald Washington said. “It went to the positive outflow into the canal, and eventually, the gator did swim back into the canal, and we were not able to capture the gator. Any day where nobody is hurt and no animals are hurt, then our mission has been fulfilled. We’re the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and protecting our natural resources is number one and public safety, also.”
A trapper estimated based on the alligator’s nose and snout that it was close to 11 feet long, but an exact length was not determined.
“When I came out, I saw my brother and his friend playing catch,” resident Oscar Alvarez said. “They had dropped the ball, and they looked down the drain, and they saw that there was a turtle, but upon closer inspection, they realized it was not a turtle. It was, in fact, an alligator.”
Residents in the area said they noticed the gator on Friday and have tried several times to contact different agencies, but they were not able to reach anyone.
“Nobody seems to do anything, and the animal is dying in there, and it’s just not right,” a resident said.
FWC said they did not receive any calls about the reptile until Tuesday, when they received a call from 7News.
“We’ll gather information and determine if it’s necessary that a contractor gets a permit to remove that alligator,” Washington said. “Whenever there’s an alligator inside of a neighborhood, swimming pool, any area that’s not its normal habitat, we recommend you contact FWC.”
FWC added that feeding an alligator in Florida is a misdemeanor, and the situation could become dangerous.
“Public safety is number one,” Washington said. “Alligator incidents are very rare, like conflicts between alligators and humans. However, we recommend that you do not feed an alligator. In fact, it’s illegal if you feed an alligator. They’ve been on Earth long before us, so they know how to feed themselves.”
People who would like to report alligator sightings can call 866-FWC-GATOR for more information.
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