My post about the French Broad alligator attracted the attention of Dr. Jim Reynolds, the Brevard College geology prof who took the recent snaps of the alligator that were published in the Asheville Citizen-Times.
He left a comment here on the blog saying that the alligator was captured yesterday (Saturday, July 29).
According to Dr. Reynolds:
Sid Cullipher, Program Manager at Headwaters, took up the alligator’s cause, realizing that it would either be hunted or die in the coming colder weather. On the night of July 26th, he went out with Motley and Adam Beeson, another Headwater’s employee and Brevard student, and spotted the animal. At first he thought it was a caiman as did several people who saw the fotos I took in the paper. The following night Sid and another employee tried to catch the reptile but soon realized they would need a third person to be successful. Finally, on the night of July 29th, Cullipher, Motley, and Beeson went out in a canoe with a flashlight and snare. After chasing the animal around several hours, they successfully captured it at 12:37 AM. They brought the captive back to Brevard College’s Moore Science Building and found a large empty aquarium in the attic. After taking sand and water from King’s Creek, they placed the reptile inside.
Read more about the alligator sightings, hunt, and capture here:
Particularly interesting to me are Dr. Reynolds’ comments on how the alligator got here:
Alligators aren’t native to this part of the world. To get here naturally, it would have had to swim up the Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee rivers before entering the French Broad north of Knoxville, TN. The other alternative would be to swim up the Appalachian Front in South Carolina, cross the Eastern Continental Divide and descend >1000′ to the French Broad. Both alternatives are ridiculous. I’ll bet if we did DNA testing on it, it would give a Florida signature. The pet critter probably bit the kid on the finger during feeding so the parents dumped him in the drink.
I’ve asked Dr. Reynolds what is happening next with the captured alligator, and will post to the blog when I find out.
UPDATE JULY 31: According to Dr. Reynolds, the alligator (now stuck with the silly names “Frenchie” or “Wiley”) is an animal ward of the state. Dr. Reynolds expects “all sorts of bureaucratic mush” must be waded through before the alligator finds a new home.
UPDATE AUGUST 1: Here’s the C-T article about the alligator’s capture.
ANOTHER UPDATE AUGUST 1: From Dr. Jim Reynolds, alligator hunter: “A state biologist took possession of the alligator this morning. I am out of the loop about what is in its immediate future.”
UPDATE AUGUST 2: According to the Citizen-Times, state officials plan to release the French Broad alligator into the wild in coastal NC.