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Kentucky Fish & Wildlife removes alligator found in Calloway County

Shawna Munger

State Fish and Wildlife officers removed and euthanized an alligator found Monday in far western Kentucky.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s law enforcement division responded after a Calloway County resident reported seeing a large reptile on Coles Campground Road outside of Murray.

Lisa Jackson, a public information officer for the Kentucky Fish & Wildlife Resources said this wasn’t the caller’s first time seeing an alligator at that location.

“We received a call through the state police that a lady had noticed an alligator … when we had an officer go out, they couldn't find it,"Jackson said. “She called this week and said ‘It's here, right now’, and the officer was able to go out and see where it was located and did confiscate the animal and euthanize it.”

Tony Dunker, captain of the regional law enforcement division for Kentucky Fish & Wildlife, told the Murray Ledger & Times that such reports aren't uncommon, but that actual sightings are rare. While alligators are not native to the region, they are sometimes illegally kept as exotic pets by private individuals and later released due to difficulties caring for them.

“There was a pond down there where we ended up sending an officer. We had gotten some complaints on it in the past [few days] but we hadn’t ever located anything,” Dunker said. “We get calls on those more than what people probably realize. A lot of times, someone will think they saw one [but it can’t be located].”

Alligators are considered by Fish and Wildlife as inherently dangerous exotic wildlife. The department’s regular practice requires either euthanasia or dedicated rehabilitation for the reptiles, if they’re captured. The reptile is on the list of banned exotic pets in Kentucky.

A Kentucky Fish & Wildlife herpetologist told the Ledger that, due to alligators’ exotic origins and potential diseases, euthanization is often necessary because of the risks keeping them poses to native and captive wildlife.

Dunker also said another sighting was called in recently at Marshall County’s Kentucky Dam Marina recently, but that it proved to be a false alarm after video evidence was reviewed.

Zacharie Lamb is a music major at Murray State University and is a Graves County native.
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