An alligator rescued from a lake in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park in February has died, Bronx Zoo officials said Friday.
Workers from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation discovered and rescued the four-foot alligator “in poor condition” from 37-degree Fahrenheit temperatures in the Brooklyn park.
The alligator was taken to the Bronx Zoo for rehabilitation, but “despite extensive ongoing medical treatment” and nutritional support, she died on Sunday, April 16, according to a news release from the zoo.
A necropsy revealed chronic and severe weight loss, extreme anemia, and infections in her intestine and skin, according to zoo officials.
“Despite the intensive care, the alligator was so emaciated, debilitated, and anemic, her immune system was not as strong as it needed to be and she succumbed to those infections,” the release stated.
The alligator was being kept illegally as a pet and ingested a bathtub stopper during that time, which created a chronic ulcer in her stomach, according to the zoo. The owner has not yet been publicly identified.
The zoo called the incident a “tragic case of animal abuse” in the release.
“Alligators and other wild animals do not belong in the pet trade or in people’s homes,” the zoo went on. “This alligator suffered and died because its owner decided to dump her in a frigid lake, in an extremely debilitated state rather than provide her with the veterinary care that could have saved her. Wild animals are not pets.”
It’s illegal to keep alligators as pets in New York City, according to the city’s website. Although the reptiles are abundant in southern states including Florida and Georgia, they are not native to New York.