Last week, officials announced that an alligator measuring 8 feet in length, which was presumed to have been taken from a Texas zoo 20 years ago and kept as a pet, had been brought back to the zoo.
According to the Texas Game Wardens and the Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo, the alligator was returned to the zoo in New Braunfels on Friday.
A Game Wardens spokesperson, Jen Shugert, reported that the discovery was made during an investigation by a game warden into possible hunting without the landowner’s permission on an adjacent property in rural Caldwell County.
According to NBC News, Shugert said, “She was doing her due diligence, asking neighbors if they had seen or heard anything in the area, and that is when she stumbled upon the alligator,”
The zoo posted a video on Friday stating that the alligator was thought to have been stolen as an egg or hatchling by someone who had previously volunteered at the zoo many years ago.
As per Shugert’s statement, the individual received two citations that have the potential to incur fines of up to $500 each. The identity of the person has not been disclosed.
Shugert stated that the judge had made the decision to move Tewa, the alligator, in early February.
The zoo also said that game wardens observed Tewa’s contentment in her new environment, where she was gradually being acquainted with other alligators. The facility says they plan to provide her with a lifelong home.
Shugert further explained said that alligators are indigenous to Texas; however, sightings and reports of alligators are more frequent in coastal regions like Louisiana rather than in places such as Caldwell County, located in Central Texas, to the south of Austin.
“The game warden who responded to this alligator situation, this was her first alligator call,” she said.