When the crew from Gator Country arrived at Champion Lake in Texas on Wednesday, a monster alligator swam up to them at the dock just like they were told it would.
The huge alligator had lost its fear of humans, so the director of the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge in Dayton called a licensed nuisance alligator hunter to have it relocated to an alligator sanctuary, according to KBMT and the Houston Chronicle.
"We would have preferred to let it live out its entire life at Champion Lake, but his aggressive nature became a problem and this was the best compromise before loss of life for a person or the alligator," wildlife refuge director Stuart Marcus told the Chronicle.
So Gary Saurage and his team from Gator Country, including co-owner Arlie Hammonds and two college interns, set out to capture the beast. They placed rope lassos in the water and baited the alligator to swim into them.
"When we finally got the alligator lassoed, there were four of us standing on the bank and I was nearly pulled into the water," Saurage told the Chronicle.
"We were able to tie the ropes off to a tree until we were able to attach the ropes to a truck. Then we pulled him up the embankment using the truck. It took every one of us to capture this animal. It’s unreal how strong these alligators are."
The team subdued the alligator and placed it on a trailer for transport to Gator Country, a 20-acre facility in Beaumont that houses 450 other large alligators.
The largest alligator Saurage had caught previously measured 12 feet, 2 inches. This one was 13 feet, 8.5 inches and weighed 900 pounds. The Texas Parks and Wildlife confirmed to KBMT that it was the largest alligator ever caught alive in the state.
"And they let me know by record they don’t see anything that’s even been within 5 inches of this as far as being caught live," said Saurage, a licensed nuisance alligator hunter for 20 years. "And that makes me feel proud. I’ve been looking for this gator for a really long time. This is without a doubt the highlight of my career.
"This is a really big alligator."
Saurage's work at Champion Lake isn't done, however.
"There are another four to six alligators coming up to the dock because people have been feeding them," he said. "We would have captured more today, but we wanted to get this guy back to our park in and the water before he was harmed.”
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