Alligator fugitive located near Big Cabin

Thursday, June 12th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

After weeks of searching, authorities have located a Craig County fugitive. This isn't your typical subject, and to apprehend him, they've called in a team of specialists.

News on 6 reporter Heather Johnson went to Big Cabin, for some alligator hunting. Suspect description, sharp teeth, scales, 4 legs, 10-feet long and extremely dangerous. Yep, looks like they got their man, or rather got their gator.

Lt Keith Green, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife: "People have been very concerned and it's caused me a lot of time and a lot of trouble." Wildlife officials say the alligator escaped from this Exotic animal farm near Pryor. While the current owner refused comment, apparently it's not the reptile's first taste of freedom.

Green says the animal has been passed from breeder to breeder. "It has a lineage of gettin away and going places." After several spotting and false reports, the creature was caught lurking behind a Big Cabin truck stop. It’s developing quite a fan club. But from a safe distance, it wouldn't take much to switch from sightseer, to snack. On the lam for more than a month, this 10-foot reptile will now be under 24-hour watch until authorities devise a way to safely remove it. In the meantime, there clearly won't be any problems enforcing this rule.

“This gator's pretty scared of people because they tried to catch it last time, so we think as a deterrent, standing here will keep it away from this exit right here." But if the gator makes a break for it. "I think everybody should run."

The alligator is a threatened species in Oklahoma. It's against the law to kill one. The plan is to trap and transport it to a location where alligators are native. Although quite a few people were having fun watching this animal, the fact that it's been on the loose since May 8th is a very serious issue.

Wildlife officials say the alligator could've gotten into Big Cabin Creek then into Lake Hudson.